School days are rapidly approaching.
Most schools in the Dickinson-Iron County area, and northeastern Wisconsin will start classes on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
School can be both an exciting and frightening experience for a child.
To prepare students, school health experts offer the following advice and guidelines on school readiness transitions.
According to school health officials, there are no absolute indicators for kindergarten or nursery school readiness.
However, there are guidelines to better help parents know when a child is ready for school.
- A successful preschool experience.
- Self-care skills, such as dressing, washing and being toilet trained.
- Good physical health; seeing and hearing well.
- Following directions, good attention span, sharing and taking turns.
- Working independently for short periods of time.
- Tolerating frustration and failure.
- Making transitions easily, accepting adult supervision and assistance.
- Articulating clearly, having age-appropriate language skills, and eye-hand coordination skills, such as cutting and drawing.
At this age, children should begin or complete certain developmental tasks including:
- Gaining social acceptance.
- Resolving conflicts between being an individual and following the crowd.
- Evaluating different values and making judgments.
- Learning to deal with fears, appetites and drives.
- Sustaining self-esteem and refining self-awareness.
- Gaining respect and support from family, while exploring independence and discovering limits.
Successfully completing these tasks heavily influences the development of the child's positive self-concept, experts say.
Although it may appear at any age, in a younger child school phobia may appear as an illness - most commonly stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhea and/or headaches.
Parents and health professionals should combat the child's phobia immediately and stand firm that the child return to school as soon as possible.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the longer the child stays out of school, the worse the situation will become.
Strong cooperation with school officials is essential, school health experts say.
The most challenging transitions for children occur when they:
- First begin school.
- Enter third grade. More academic emphasis begins, cursive writing, more homework and overall demands are increased.
- Start junior high school, or middle school.
- Reach high school, where the last and perhaps toughest transition occurs - adolescence.
At these stages, school health officials emphasize that communication between the school, parents and the child's doctor is extremely important.
Communication and understanding of what the child is going through can help both the parents and the child adjust and hopefully overcome stressful and trying times.