Experts offer on advice school prep

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 3, 2001

Andrea Woods knows why a routine is needed for success in school.

&uot;They say ‘when you go to bed early, you wake up smart,’&uot; she said.

That’s why her mother, Andre Woods, of Natchez, is trying to get her 10-year-old daughter and her two sons used to going to bed early prior to the start of school on Thursday.

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With all the schools in the Miss-Lou starting classes this month, parents are urged to get their children into a routine prior to the first day of school.

&uot;If they get in that routine, then it’s not a shock (to have) to get up and go,&uot; said Mary Kate Garvin, assistant superintendent for the Natchez-Adams School District.

And along with preparing for school comes a pile school supplies.

&uot;A whole list,&uot; said Symatha Rankin, shaking her head overwhelmed with the things she must buy for her third-grade daughter, Shyviqua Brooks.

But it’s really not that bad, Rankin said as she tried to locate the items in Wal-Mart Friday.

&uot;It’s fun. (Shyviqua) likes to shop,&uot; said Rankin, a Jefferson County resident.

Lorin Turner of Crosby, was another student who enjoyed shopping for school supplies Friday.

She was hoping to find binders and a backpack in pink snakeskin.

&uot;There’s a lot of different cool stuff to pick out,&uot; said Turner, a third-grader at Pine Hills Academy. &uot;I like school and I want to go back.&uot;

In addition to establishing a routine and buying supplies, parents can help children get ready for school mentally.

Especially younger children may feel overwhelmed at the size of their school, said Lorene Mock, coordinator of the parent center for the Natchez-Adams School District.

Parents should tell them the teacher is like their &uot;second mama&uot; and tell them they will not get lost at school.

&uot;The parent should assure the child that the teachers, the principals and all the adults at school are going to take care of them,&uot; Mock said.

Parents should also remind them to pay attention at school and make sure they can recite their name, their parent’s names and other pertinent information, Mock said.

Parents of older children should talk to them about the school rules and the consequences for not following the rules.

&uot;They need to know there is somebody in authority at school,&uot; Mock said. &uot;Parents should let them know what the expectations are from home.&uot;

High school students should be reminded to be goal-orientated, get to class on time and to remember they are really young adults, Mock said.

And all children should set aside a place at home to keep their school supplies to eliminate confusion in the morning, Mock said.

Dr. Scott Fleming, head of school at Cathedral School, said parents and students should remember that school is a place to learn and grow.

&uot;There might be some setbacks but for the most part it can be a very positive experience,&uot; Fleming said.

Students should try to make the most of school, have fun and to have a good attitude, Fleming said.

&uot;If you go in with a good attitude … chances are it will be a good experience; a nice positive experience.&uot; Fleming said.

And parents should make sure children understand that with the end of summer new priorities must enter their lives.

&uot;Make sure that they have breakfast every day for those good brainwaves and start weaning (them) from the television now so they can start preparing themselves to do a lot more reading and studying at home,&uot; Fleming said.

To help its youngest students, Cathedral School plans to introduce its preschool and kindergarten students to school in small groups instead of all in one day.

Kate Cole, the school’s new elementary principal/assistant administrator and former principal of West Primary School, made this change this year. This is one of many ways Cole will assist the youngest children make the most of school, Fleming said. &uot;She’s a super-duper professional educator who cares deeply about all the children and all the teachers that are under her care,&uot; Fleming said.