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Tips for Transitioning from Summer to School


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After weeks of summer camp, vacations and no homework, it can be difficult for kids to get back into the daily grind of school. Crystal Reardon, director of counseling for Wake County Public Schools, says starting school on the right foot can enhance children's relationships with their peers and teachers, and help them develop a positive attitude toward school.

For children starting school for the first time, WCPSS Project Enlightenment (projectenlightenment.wcpss.net) offers valuable information and resources for parents.

Another helpful resource is schoolfamily.org, recommended by Kishia Carrington, student services coordinator for Durham County Public Schools. The website lists what to expect academically and socially for each grade level, from preschool through 12th grade.

Here are some general tips to help you and your child prepare for going back to school:

1. Schedule an appointment with the doctor. Visit your child's dentist, doctor or pediatrician to make sure he is in good physical and mental health and receives recommended vaccinations or immunizations. If your child plans on participating in sports, be sure to have a physical completed in time. (Some are school system-specific.)

2. Establish healthy habits. Changing routines is hard, but establishing regular bedtimes and mealtimes will ease your child back into school mode. A few weeks before school starts, encourage your child to go to sleep and wake up earlier than usual so the adjustment won't be too shocking.

3. Make organization a priority. Keep your school to-do lists tidy by using online organizational resources such as Clipix.com or Workflowy.com. It is also helpful to set aside a folder at home exclusively for filing paper copies of your child's important school information. This way, everything is all in one place.

4. Buy supplies early. Be sure to steadily purchase all necessary school supplies ahead of time. This will save you the headache of trying to buy them all at once the week - or night - before school begins.

5. Save the date. Keep track of what the entire family is up to by marking important future dates on your calendar or smartphone so they don't end up surprising you later.

6. Make safety a priority. Talk with your child about common safety practices, especially school bus, traffic and pedestrian safety. Review protocol for after-school safety if your child will be home alone.

Keep calm and carry on

Darlene Johnson, lead social worker for WCPSS, says it's common for children and parents to feel anxious about going back to school. She and Jeff Nash, from the DPS office of public affairs, offer advice to help combat children's uneasiness:

7. Communicate clearly. "It's easier now than it has ever been to talk to teachers," Nash says. If you have concerns about your child starting school, contact his teacher(s) through email, phone or even Facebook. "This is what teachers do," he says. "They want to reach out to families and children: It's part of the job."

8. Familiarize yourself. Johnson recommends taking your child on a tour of the school campus. Visit places she will be, like the playground, cafeteria or media center. If possible, arrange to meet teachers or principals on the visit. This way, your child will feel more confident on her first day back and there will be fewer surprises.

9. Read the student handbook. Go through the student handbook with your child. It can answer questions you might have and provide information about the dress code, emergency procedures and other relevant information. Nash says these handbooks don't usually change from year to year, so consult the previous year's handbook if you want information before the school year starts.

10. Establish expectations. Contact your child's teachers to understand what they expect academically from their students. Then, discuss with your child what he wants to learn and accomplish at school. Write down these goals and revisit them periodically to help him stay focused throughout the year.

11. Set an example. If your child is still feeling nervous about starting school, talk to her about fond school memories from when you were her age. "Smile when you tell the story, and encourage your children to create their own stories," Nash says. Let your child know you were once in her shoes, too.

And if the first week back isn't a success, don't panic. Johnson says in addition to contacting the appropriate teachers or a guidance counselor to create strategies to help address concerns you or your child may have, establishing an open line of communication with your child is extremely important and helpful.

"Find out what is triggering whatever feelings they have, and problem-solve with them," Johnson says.

Editorial intern Jessica Gaylord is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, double majoring in journalism and communications.

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Calendar

August 2016

Enjoy water slides, bounce houses, water gun fights and food. All ages. Service will begin at 9:30 a.m. with festivities immediately following.

Cost: Free

Where:
Driven Church
5511 Avent Ferry Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: Driven Church
Telephone: 919-307-9801
Contact Name: Christopher Murray

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

Kids ages 5-11 and their adult companions enjoy a 30-minute tour. Meet at the West Building Information Desk.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Telephone: 919-839-6262
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
122 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca QuiƱones
Website »

More information

Enjoy the captivating story of a band of underdogs who become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in New York. This rousing tale is about fighting for what’s...

Cost: $35-$80

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Take a look at the monsters and beasts that inhabit our dreams and folktales by peering through different lenses to explore the beauty, monstrousness and magic of these creatures as Paperhand...

Cost: Suggested donations are $8 for kids, $15 for adults

Where:
Forest Theatre
123 S. Boundary St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-0522
Website »

More information

Enjoy the captivating story of a band of underdogs who become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in New York. This rousing tale is about fighting for what’s...

Cost: $35-$80

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Take a look at the monsters and beasts that inhabit our dreams and folktales by peering through different lenses to explore the beauty, monstrousness and magic of these creatures as Paperhand...

Cost: Suggested donations are $8 for kids, $15 for adults

Where:
Forest Theatre
123 S. Boundary St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-0522
Website »

More information

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Explore the wonders of the great outdoors and create fun, nature-inspired crafts. Take a lunch, snack and water bottle. Ages 6-11. Meet at the Cypress Shelter. Registration required.

Cost: $20/person

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-4342
Website »

More information

Meet other moms at the Durham Mothers Club open playdate. New and prospective members learn more about the DMC and make new friends. Meeting take place in the nursery; young kids play with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pilgrim United Church of Christ - Nursery
3011 Academy Road
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Mothers Club
Contact Name: Jennifer Johnson
Website »

More information

Take the fast track to nature in this hands-on study of ecology. Ages 8-12. Registration required.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

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Learn how people made flour and cornmeal long ago and try out a variety of ancient-style hand mills. Survey milling history and learn about equipment that has been used around the world to grind...

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, AL
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Local community heroes from the Chapel Hill Police Department show that they are also “Reading Role Models” by reading a story or two with kids and answering questions about the work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chapel Hill Public Library, Programming Room
100 Library Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Chapel Hill Public Library
Telephone: 919-969-2036
Contact Name: Daniel Siler
Website »

More information

Hunt for clues and investigate the mystery of milling with real historical artifacts inside Wake County's only remaining water-powered gristmill. Ages 7–14. Registration required.

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Take part in the KaBOOM! Playground Build at Crest Street Park in Durham. Durham Parks and Recreation, Keep Durham Beautiful, the Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership, the Crest Street Community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crest Street Park
2503 Crest Street
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Keep Durham Beautiful
Telephone: 919-560-4197 x21269
Contact Name: Monica Ospina
Website »

More information

Take time out to spend with your little one as you crawl, explore and bounce in a safe environment exclusively for children ages 12 mos-3 yrs. Parents play free; admission is $5 per child....

Cost: $5/child

Where:
BounceU of Apex
3419 Apex Peakway
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

Tinkergarten is an early childhood education experience in the best classroom you could ask for: Nature! Tinkergarten offers play-based learning for children ages 18 mos-5 yrs, and is all...

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Community Park
2200 Laura Duncan Road
Apex, NC  27523
View map »


Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Contact Name: Kelci Mukherjee
Website »

More information

Local community heroes from the Chapel Hill Police Department show that they are also “Reading Role Models” by reading a story or two with kids and answering questions about the work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chapel Hill Public Library, Programming Room
100 Library Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Chapel Hill Public Library
Telephone: 919-969-2036
Contact Name: Daniel Siler
Website »

More information

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Meet a staff member at the information desk to visit one of the museum galleries. Have a look around and listen to a history-related story. Ages 3 and older with adult.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore animals in art. Learn about animals in the museum and enjoy activities. Ages 2-5 with caregiver. First come, first served. Sessions take place at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.

Cost: $3/member, $6/nonmember

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Telephone: 919-839-6262
Website »

More information

Local community heroes from the Chapel Hill Police Department show that they are also “Reading Role Models” by reading a story or two with kids and answering questions about the work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chapel Hill Public Library, Programming Room
100 Library Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Chapel Hill Public Library
Telephone: 919-969-2036
Contact Name: Daniel Siler
Website »

More information

Johanna leads preschoolers on a storytime adventure.

Cost: Free

Where:
Flyleaf Books
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Flyleaf Books
Telephone: 919-942-7373
Website »

More information

Assist park staff with invasive species removal in the educational gardens. Learn about harmful invasive species and tackle the task of removing these plants. Take a water bottle and wear clothes...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-4342
Website »

More information

Enjoy "Back to the Future" outdoors. Food trucks available. Take lawn chairs and blankets. Movies shown on the back lawn of the Garner Performing Arts Center; gates open at 7 p.m....

Cost: Free

Where:
Garner Performing Arts Center - Back Lawn
742 W. Garner Rd
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Sponsor: Garner Revitalization Association
Telephone: 919-773-4402
Contact Name: Mari Howe
Website »

More information

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Enjoy an energetic, musical storytime with Amy Godfrey, who was a Durham County librarian for six years. Babka and challah will be served as...

Cost: Free

Where:
Levin JCC
1937 West Cornwallis Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Enjoy a kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified and participatory music show. Children delight in active,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
"Pump it Up" Briercreek
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

Local community heroes from the Chapel Hill Police Department show that they are also “Reading Role Models” by reading a story or two with kids and answering questions about the work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chapel Hill Public Library, Programming Room
100 Library Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Chapel Hill Public Library
Telephone: 919-969-2036
Contact Name: Daniel Siler
Website »

More information

Spread a picnic blanket for garden stories and crafts. Meet at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center. Ages 3-5 with adult. Dress for the weather as this program is held outdoors. Activities are moved...

Cost: Free for members, $5/nonmembers

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road
Raleigh, NC  27606-1446
View map »


Telephone: (919) 513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Registration required.

Cost: $18/resident, $23/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Families gather for an overnight experience complete with a naturalist-led night hike, a light Dutch oven dinner, s'mores for the kids, breakfast, and time for fishing and boating in the...

Cost: $20 adults, $15 youth

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-2871
Website »

More information

Take a look at the monsters and beasts that inhabit our dreams and folktales by peering through different lenses to explore the beauty, monstrousness and magic of these creatures as Paperhand...

Cost: Suggested donations are $8 for kids, $15 for adults

Where:
Forest Theatre
123 S. Boundary St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-0522
Website »

More information

Roast marshmallows over the fire and go on a short night hike to see who is out and about. Marshmallows and roasting sticks provided. Take a camp chair and water bottle. All ages. Meet at the...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-4342
Website »

More information

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After basic instruction, explore the pond's many features by canoe. Canoes, paddles and life jackets provided. Ages 6 and older with adult. Canoes fit 2 adults and 2 children. The first session...

Cost: $10/boat

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

The Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary by expanding the one-day festival to two days. Enjoy arts and crafts from vendors from across the Southeast, festival foods,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Town of Cary Town Hall Campus
316 N. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

Mix, mold and decorate a stepping stone. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required.

Cost: $5/child

Where:
Logan's Garden Shp
707 Semart Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 3-5 and caregiver celebrate  little ruby-throated hummingbirds with stories, craft, play and hands-on exploration in the summer blooming garden. Register online.

Cost: $8/member, $10/nonmember

Where:
North Carolina Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Botanical Garden
Telephone: 919-537-3770
Contact Name: Elisha Taylor
Website »

More information

Kids ages 5-11 and their adult companions enjoy a 30-minute tour. Meet at the West Building Information Desk.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Telephone: 919-839-6262
Website »

More information

Fish the old-fashioned way with a cane pole. Equipment, instruction and assistance with identifying fish species provided. Ages 5 and older with adult. Registration required.

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Explore moon lore as it relates to agriculture, the autumnal equinox and the harvest season. Head into the park to gaze at the full "Green Corn" or "Grain" moon. Ages 5 and...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, AL
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Features food trucks, more than 20 local businesses, games for the entire family and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Fuquay-Varina
322 S. Main St.
Fuquay-Varina, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Families enjoy a free craft, workshop, giveaway, photo download and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shop
801 Bass Pro Lane
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ninjas learning how to kick, punch, yell, jump, and roll, and then put their skills to the test on a Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacle course, followed by board breaking time lead by a master...

Cost: $18/first child, $12/additional children

Where:
Original Strength Institute
101 S. Main St.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
View map »


Telephone: 919-576-5526
Contact Name: Danae Canna
Website »

More information

Take a stroll in the creek to search for frogs, fish and more. Ages 10-13. Registration required.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Learn how you can help conserve this valuable state symbol. Meet Lake Crabtree's adopted turtle, Shel Silverstein, and join park staff on a box turtle survey. Enjoy an opportunity to search for...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Enjoy live music, fresh cooked seafood, barbecue and more. Healthy, locally sourced cuisine from participating chefs, food trucks and restaurants will be served throughout the day featuring fresh...

Cost: $8 advance tickets, $10 at the door. Ages 12 and younger admitted free.

Where:
Raleigh Beer Garden
614 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover the American Tobacco Trail's new GeoArt project and learn the basics of the high-tech treasure hunt. Learn what geocaching is and search for some newly placed geocaches along the...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-4342
Website »

More information

Families gather for an overnight experience complete with a naturalist-led night hike, a light Dutch oven dinner, s'mores for the kids, breakfast, and time for fishing and boating in the...

Cost: $20 adults, $15 youth

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-2871
Website »

More information

Kids ages 7-17 take part in a hands-on magic workshop. Learn the performance art of theatrical magic from local masters on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Details available at...

Cost: $10

Where:
The Magic Corner Magic Shop
3684 Capital Blvd.
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Sponsor: Ring #199,The Int'l Brotherhood of Magicians
Telephone: 919-272-6465
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Enjoy an evening walk to learn about owls. Listen for owl calls and coyotes’ howls as we search by ear, as well as sight, for some of the night’s early risers. Turn logs and search for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
6001 Turkey Farm Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Triangle Land Conservancy
Telephone: 919-908-0054
Contact Name: Barbara Goldentyer
Website »

More information

Take a look at the monsters and beasts that inhabit our dreams and folktales by peering through different lenses to explore the beauty, monstrousness and magic of these creatures as Paperhand...

Cost: Suggested donations are $8 for kids, $15 for adults

Where:
Forest Theatre
123 S. Boundary St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-0522
Website »

More information

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