As summer winds down, children’s thoughts across Southwest Orlando will inevitably turn to the first day of school. The school year, which begins Aug. 20, is only a month away, and students and their families can get a head start by preparing now. The beginning of school is an exciting time, but some might worry about what the coming year may hold.
Southwest Orlando Bulletin’s 15th annual Back to School guide provides a comprehensive look at a variety of school-related topics. In the following articles, area experts offer insights into different concerns often brought about by the start of a new school year. For students, there are articles about becoming confident, getting a new look and building self-esteem. For parents, there are tips about educational tax credits, protecting against illness and helping children reach their fullest potential.
by Tim Euler, M.Ed., head of schoolCentral Florida Christian Academy407-850-2322www.cfcaeagles.org
Every organization rises and falls on those who are the heartbeat of the organization. In schools across America, teachers are the heartbeat. Children will spend nearly 16,000 classroom hours from the time they start kindergarten to high school graduation. It is important that the teachers children spend time with love being teachers. They should be passionate, trained and experienced in the areas in which they work, and be actively involved in the community. Robert Fried, author of The Passionate Teacher, wrote: Passionate teachers share their commitment to active learning by showing, not just telling. Teachers are, after all, role models of adults who care about issues of the mind.The classroom is vital to teachers, but it is outside the classroom where the essential training occurs. It is important for students to see teachers in a social setting or student-performance activity in the community.A teacher should view his job as a calling and mission, rather than a job. Society needs teachers who go above and beyond to educate, inspire and equip the next generation. Teachers should partner with parents to become an extension of the home and replicate its heartbeat, especially if they are spending 16,000 hours in the classroom.
by Keri Cormier, office managerCelebration Pediatrics407-566-9700www.celebrationpediatrics.com
Surprisingly enough, school will soon be back in session, and so will the germs that come with it. Being prepared with some basic things that children can be taught is very important, and everyone can use a reminder now and then. As most people know, hand washing is the best, most effective way to keep both adults and children healthy. It is important that this practice is stressed to children. When at school, children should be encouraged to wash their hands whenever possible, especially after using the restroom.Another great way to prevent illness when washing with soap and water is not available, is the use of antibacterial hand sanitizer. Making sure a child’s classroom is equipped with this product for use during the day is a great way to help combat illness.These are just a couple of simple and easy ways to help keep children happy and healthy during the upcoming school year.
by Neena Dhanji & Sandy Graf, principalCentral Florida Preparatory School407-290-8073www.cfprep.org
Online gaming, online chatting and online TV are all trends of this generation. It is difficult to keep even the youngest child off some electronic device. So what can one do to focus young minds on education rather than games? Many educators believe that marrying technology and education is the key. A digital learning platform is possibly the best solution, allowing educators to transform the distraction of technology into a tool for future scholars.In this new paradigm, students continue to learn via class lectures, and yes, they still use paper and pencil. Technology is used to provide interactive and teacher-customized content to aid in lesson delivery and assignments. One can imagine online tutoring of complex lessons, video presentations of scientific materials, and the use of voice recognition technology to assist in teaching foreign languages.With digital courseware, there are no textbooks. Coursework is Web-accessible, along with student planners and progress reports. Now parents can check their child’s progress at anytime. As an added bonus, students’ online time is educational.Combining instruction with technology is the future of education. Blended learning environments provide the digital technology that students crave, as well as a best in class education that parents desire.
submitted by Children’s Lighthouse Child Care Learning Center of People of Faith407-395-0077www.childrenslighthousepof.com
Some parents may be concerned about the growing size of school classrooms. Lawmakers and school administrators faced with massive budget cuts are struggling to keep class sizes small, but these days it is a difficult task. Until they find a solution, parents can take the following steps to ensure their child gets attention in the classroom:• Volunteering in the classroom. Those who have the time and want to make the commitment can ask to be a class parent or a teacher’s assistant. If someone cannot be there daily, helping to prepare displays or complete paperwork are other alternatives.• Get involved with the school by joining the PTA or another group committed to improving schools. Volunteer on projects designed to help ease the burden on teachers and help students learn.• Obtain a list of classmates and their telephone numbers. This may help a child reach out to peers in order to make friends or get help with homework.
by Debby Tapia, vice president, certified etiquette consultantThe Maile Image, Modeling & Acting School407-628-5989www.lisamaile.com
Proper etiquette and manners are important.The following are a few tips all students should practice and use in everyday situations:• Students should understand the importance of writing thank-you notes, especially for gifts given to them for birthdays, graduations, holidays and other special occasions.• Students need to be taught table manners at an early age. They should come to the table with clean faces and hands. Proper etiquette includes good posture, use of a napkin, how to hold and use utensils, and how to eat soup.• Students should keep their telephones on vibrate or keep the ringtone volumes turned down. They should not talk on cellphones while eating or inside classrooms, libraries, restaurants and other public places where their conversations can be overheard. Texting should not be allowed in the classroom or during mealtimes.• Occasionally, students should be taken out to a nice restaurant so they can begin to use etiquette skills. It is also a good idea for them to practice at home before going to a friend’s house or outing.• Along with “please” and “thank you,” other courteous words and phrases should include “you’re welcome,” “excuse me” and “may I.”
by Katherine NashThe Crenshaw School407-877-7412www.crenshawschool.com
Once a child begins to learn how to read, many parents are confronted with a disparity in their child’s learning ability. A child, who may even be considered bright by comparison, may struggle with reading. This can lead to teacher frustration, parental angst and, most critically, the child’s diminished self-esteem. The tragedy is that, but for the lack of awareness, the collective stress is unnecessary.Awareness of dyslexia and recognizing learning disparities are essential first steps in helping a child compensate and adjust to a learning style not initially programmed in his brain. Also helpful is recognizing that dyslexia does not affect a child’s intelligence, just the way he learns society’s artificial means of communication — reading. Teachers, in particular, need to be schooled on the signs and compensating techniques of dyslexia. It is also the parents’ responsibility to make sure their child gets the extra help he needs. The ability to compensate diminishes as a child ages. Learning to read is essential in preparing children for the future, and it must be a collective effort. The heartache thwarted by early intervention is worth every ounce of extra effort.
by Carol Grosshans, middle school principal The First Academy407-206-8600www.thefirstacademy.org
Parents are filled with joy when handed their newborns, believing they are beautiful, smart and have the most potential of any other child. It is hard for them to imagine anyone would think any less. However, in many schools, children are physically hurt, emotionally scarred and socially isolated. Bullying is not just taking place in schools, but also through the use of texting, Facebook postings, instant messaging and other social media outlets.Some studies report that between 15 to 25 percent of school-age children are frequently bullied, and the vast majority never share their situation with a parent or other adult. They fear that telling will only make matters worse, no one will believe them, they feel ashamed or they do not want to worry their parent.Adults need to keep the lines of communication open and ask their children questions. They should be aware of warning signs, such as repeated excuses for not going to school, reports of skipping classes, few friends, low self-esteem, depression, a drop in grades, stress, eating disorders or cutting. If bullying is occurring, they should discuss with the child what led up to the bullying. There may be things the child has done or said that could have brought negative attention to him. If bullying continues, the child’s school should be contacted for help.Parents also should not ignore the fact that their child may be a bully. They can work with school personnel to help turn this behavior around.
by Gail Hatmaker, middle school principalFoundation Academy407-877-2744407-656-3677www.foundationacademy.net
What does it take to help a child become successful in school and life?This is a question most parents ask as they try to navigate the choppy waters of raising children in today’s society. It is a fact that parenting is challenging and certainly has its moments of highs and lows.Even though a child does not come into this world with an owner’s manual or navigational chart, there is help for parents. No set formula and no absolute guarantee for success can be provided, but research shows that when parents and schools build a positive partnership, students have:• Higher grades, test scores and graduation rates.• Better school attendance.• Increased motivation and better self-esteem.• Better behavior.It is important to find a school that believes in sharing the educational boat with parents. The family is the most influential relationship in a child’s life, and when the school and home come together, the child wins. Partnerships bring the home, school, church and community together to build a child’s foundation for life.Parents should get involved in their children’s schools and remember that parenting is “heart” work.
by David L. Goldstein, D.M.D.Pediatric Dentistry407-295-5437 www.smilesdrdavid.com
According to the American Dental Association, more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented annually in this country by sports mouth guards. Mouth guards protect not only the teeth, but also the lips, cheeks and tongue. In addition, they help prevent head and neck injuries, such as concussions and jaw fractures. Increasingly, organized sports are requiring athletes to wear mouth guards. Research shows that most oral injuries occur when athletes are not wearing mouth protection. A mouth guard should be worn whenever a child is participating in an activity that risks falls or head contact with other players or equipment. These activities include football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding and even gymnastics. Many people think of football and hockey as sports that are the most dangerous to teeth, but nearly one-half of all sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.It is important to choose a mouth guard that the child can wear comfortably. Sports stores offer a variety of mouth guards, ranging from preformed to “boil-to-fit,” but they are often uncomfortable and interfere with breathing and speaking. Customized mouth guards are available through a pediatric dentist. They cost a bit more but are more comfortable and more effective in preventing injuries.
by Scott BerginHuntington Learning Center407-522-4477www.huntingtonlearning.com
Parents and children look forward to summer and a break from the school-day routines — vacations, camps and free time are all part of the fun. However, the skills required for success in school become duller by the moment. Experts agree that up to 30 percent of what students learn during the year is lost over the summer.To ensure a successful upcoming school year, any questions or concerns from the last school year should be addressed during the summer. Perhaps a student experienced some frustration with class work or homework. Maybe his grades were acceptable, but he has a lack of confidence and motivation, especially during the second half of the year. During the last month or so of summertime, a child can gain the skills, confidence and motivation to excel in school next year.Now is also the time to begin preparing for exams, such as the SAT, ACT, FCAT, ISEE and HHSA. These exams carry a lot of weight for students, and it is best to prepare well in advance of the testing date with a private instructor and personalized plan of study. Students can get a great head start before regular homework, sports and other extracurricular activities begin to consume valuable preparation time.
More Back to School
Kearney Publishing Corp.7901 Kingspointe Parkway, Suite 28Orlando, FL 32819407.351.1573 | Fax number: 407.363.3954
Kearney Publishing Corp.