The holidays are coming to an end and the students are preparing for a new course. The joy of meeting their classmates again, and the enthusiasm to meet their new teacher or the desire to wear the new backpack or the pencil case that we just bought, sometimes certain nerves join.
For many students, going back to school means going back to a routine that they have lost and facing the difficulties that the previous year has generated so much anxiety, not to mention those who have not passed to the next year.
The beginning of the course is especially delicate for schoolchildren who have a diagnosis of a developmental disorder and are considered within the school as students with specific needs for educational support . For most of these students, going back to school does not produce the same positive emotions as for the rest.
Forget content and habits
The long vacation period of the summer season allows children to forget much of the content learned and lose the habits created during the course.
For most schoolchildren, resuming these habits is a matter of weeks, but for those who have a developmental disorder, resuming this routine is a more complicated challenge, especially those who have prescribed a medication with “therapeutic vacations” .
Returning to this medication does not have immediate results, and the first months of school are difficult.
Restore sleeping habits
A good sleep habit is essential for learning to occur and is one of the most altered factors during the summer. A few weeks before classes begin, it is advisable to gradually recover your sleeping habits.
The week before the start, they should go to bed half an hour earlier each day and wake up earlier. Parents can set a task first thing in the morning that requires getting up.
For example, they can go shopping for books first thing in the morning instead of in the afternoon. If parents work, they can put on an activity first thing in the morning that forces them to have a reason to get up.
Once classes have started, teachers must incorporate the desired habits gradually, taking into account the reality of each of their pupils. It is good to do some work the previous weeks identifying those students who present a diagnosis to adapt the classroom and the method to the characteristics of the group.
It is recommended to speak with the parents to find out which habits have been maintained and which ones should be recovered. In this way you will be able to know what emotions are present in your students at the beginning of the course.
An activity that favors this gradual beginning is to start the day by sitting in a circle with a speaking stick and ask questions about what they feel at the beginning of the course.
These activities are beneficial, in addition to allowing the teacher to get to know their students, so that the latter has the opportunity to express what they feel and deal with conflicts in the classroom during the course of the academic year .
Preparation from the first day of vacation
A good preparation for going back to school does not start the weeks before the start, but the first day of vacation. On the last day of class, students show accumulated fatigue during the course and want to rest, but they have habits and routines that should not be lost .
It is important for the brain to rest and allow it to get bored, as boredom helps improve creativity and cognitive development. It is also normal for sleep patterns to change, since the length of the days is longer than in winter.
What should not change is the routine of doing things, the purposes to be fulfilled. These purposes must be chosen by the minors themselves, in agreement with their fathers and mothers. It is useful to establish schedules and responsibilities for these tasks, even if we are on vacation.
The camps, a good method
Summer , urban and sports camps are a good ally in this regard.
In them, responsibility and autonomy are acquired and we reduce the time of use of electronic devices. And even more fundamental: they help them not to lose their habits, to have purposes and work on social relationships , a very relevant aspect in some developmental disorders.
It is common for mothers and fathers to buy activity books at the beginning of the summer so that their sons and daughters do not forget the knowledge acquired during the course.
A few hours of daily work is not harmful in the long summer period, but the reality of each student and their parents must be taken into account.
If you have a developmental disorder, you may have had to work very hard during the course. Therefore, dedicating vacations to doing more of the same generates frustration and weariness towards learning.
Parents pressuring them to do chores can cause family stress. A recommendation to work on academic content while enjoying it with the family is board games, especially those pedagogically created to improve cognitive processes.
What is truly recommended, in all cases, is that parents and children spend time together, doing activities that the whole family enjoys. In this way we will generate family ties and improve communication between parents and children.
Author Bio: Martina Ares Ferreiros is Professor in the area of Developmental Psychology at the University of Vigo