Preparing For Private School: How To Transition Smoothly

More than 5.3 million children are enrolled in private schools across the U.S., according to the Council for American Private Education (CAPE). If your child is about to become one of the many pre-k through grade 12 students who attend private learning institutions, preparing for the school year is absolutely essential. Whether it's your child's first year in the school, she's been attending for the past few years or she's moving mid-year, check out the ways you can help to make this transition run smoothly:

Get the List

Don't assume that you know everything your child needs to start her private school year. Most teachers will send home, or email, a school supply list. Follow this exactly. The list includes items the teacher expects your young student to use. If you skip a few or make some of your own substitutions, it's likely that you'll end up hunting for the original list picks later on in the school year. Come October or November many stores may stop carrying some school supplies. This makes finding replacements almost impossible.

You may also want to get a few extras or back-ups – especially if you know that your child is rough on her school supplies or tends to lose things easily.

Make a Schedule

Before your child ever steps foot in the classroom, create a daily schedule that you can follow week-to-week. This helps her to prep for the start of school and makes the school year run smoothly. Not only will your child know what to expect, but she'll also start to understand how she can budget her time.

Include everything from wake-up time to after-school activities. Get detailed and schedule exact time points, such as shower time, leaving for school drop-off, and school pick-up. Don't forget to schedule a block of time for homework. When the school year starts your child can look back at her schedule and figure out if she has time for everything she wants to do. For example, if her basketball practice and tutoring sessions are already on the schedule for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, she only has Tuesdays and Thursdays free for soccer or to practice for the school play.

Talk to the Teacher

If your child is starting school for the first time, transitioning from public or home school to a private school or is anxious about moving up a grade level, talk to the teacher. Keep in mind, the teacher may not have time to schedule an in-person meeting over the summer months. But they may be able to call or email you and your child. Ask your child to make a list of the questions/concerns she has. Email these to the teacher. The responses can help your child to prepare for the upcoming school year and may make her feel more comfortable about going into a new class.

Starting private school, or continuing to the next grade, is an exciting time. Make the transition even better than it already is with some careful (and caring) prep. Knowing what to expect and having everything she needs will make moving into a new classroom a less stressful time that your child can enjoy.