A pre-school age little girl in a pink striped outfit and a ponytail smiles while holding a blue sign that says My First Day of School 2022-2023.

Preparing for Back to School

Head Start News, Latest News

By Rebecca Bishop Ware, Associate Director of Early Childhood Services

Fall is such an important and exciting time in the lives of young children and families, as they prepare to attend childcare programs or school for the first time or to return to school, after an extended time off for a summer break full of camps, childcare, or kincare. 

Communication and building relationships are key ways to help ensure a home-school connection and prepare for a successful school year for you and your child(ren). Some tips to help include:

· Communicate early on and let others know your preferences. Introduce yourself to program/ school staff and attend events at the beginning of the school year when everyone is getting to know each other. Let staff know your preferences of the best way to communicate, such as call, text, email, notes, etc. 

· Share information about your child and home. Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher and know their child best! Share information about their skill levels or extra supports they may need, interests, preferred activities, experiences, fears, etc. Communicate information about behaviors, changes in sleep routines, medications, and family dynamics. Sharing information about your whole child allows staff to meet your child’s needs and to maximize their progress in all areas of learning and development. 

· Communicate often. Be responsive to school/ program requests. Call when your child will not be attending or will be late. Bring a doctor’s note in to excuse the absence after a sick or well-child appointment. If you have a question or a concern, go directly to the teacher. Waiting or not saying anything could build anxiety or distrust. Posting on social media does not solve problems; it only results in opinions of others that are not involved or who may not be aware of necessary information to give good advice. Most often posts are not seen by program/ school staff who could support a solution or provide information. 

Starting off the school year right with strong communication and a foundation of good relationships will support your child all year and partnering with teachers, helps your child to transition well, be more comfortable, and allows you to share in their successes. Further resources are available for the families of young children at this link, such as, 13 Tips for Starting Preschool or Ready or Not Kindergarten, Here We Come! 

Bennington County Head Start-Early Head Start provides programming to children ages six weeks to five years throughout the county, at its own sites in Bennington, North Bennington, and Pownal, as well as through partner programs in Bennington, Manchester, and Pownal. Applications are accepted and children are enrolled all year! In addition to early childhood curriculum and childcare, transportation is possible, as well as parenting curriculum and leadership opportunities, and resource and referral supports, which are provided for families. All sites are 5 STAR centers, and preschool classrooms are qualified partner Pre-K providers with the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union. Contact April at 802-442-3686 or adunham@ucsvt.org to apply.

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