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Back to school

Photographs: Matthew Dexter / Rosenfeldt

Text: Shani Bishop & Michelle Aniere-Bentsen, North Zealand International School

At North Zealand International School, we are looking forward to welcoming our learners back.

As well as thinking about what pens, books and supplies our learners need, it’s important to take a moment to think about what our children have experienced this year and what they will need from us upon their return to school. Our school counsellor offers some tips below.

Back to school tips from our learners

Our learners are a constant source of inspiration to us, so we thought we would ask them to share some tips for others returning to school.

#1 Think of learning as the world, there are always new terrains to cross. The most

spectacular method of crossing is the way you adapt to each new terrain.

- Pranav Rajkumar, Year 8

#2 Be structured. Get some structure and make a daily routine to make sure you get

everything done on time. - Noah, Year 10

#3 New school, new friends can be hard in the beginning. So, step out of your shell and

communicate with your new classmates and teachers. - Thea Munk, Year 8

#4 Be very inclusive because some kids might feel left out when they weren’t around

their friends for a really long time. - Reed, Year 8

Personal learning goals

The International Primary Curriculum personal learning goals underpin each unit - they represent the attributes that we believe children will find essential in the 21st Century. They help children to develop those qualities that will enable them to be at ease with the continually changing context of their lives. These goals are:

#1 Enquiry

#2 Communication

#3 Thoughtfulness

#4 Adaptability

#5 Cooperation

#6 Resilience

#7 Respect

Insights and advice from our NIS school counsellor Michelle

Personal goals, like resilience and cooperation, are an essential focus for our school and our learners. They permeate through everything we do at school and learning in every subject.

It was impressive to see how they coped during the period of school closure and with returning to school. One of the personal goals we have for them is resilience and this period certainly developed that goal. In general, most students coped well, rose to the challenge and adapted. When they did have challenges, we provided ongoing help and support to allow them to succeed.

The new school year and some advice

A new school year brings an opportunity for new beginnings. It’s a great time to encourage reflection in your child whatever age they are. A few questions you could ask are: How do you feel about going back to school? What are you looking forward to? Is there anything you are feeling anxious about? What personal goals can you use to help you?

It will be easy for all of us to assume that August will mark a return to normal schooling. As we all know, the ‘new normal’ will continue for some time yet and reminding children of continuing regular hand washing will be helpful.

The bubble of school, friends, social media and family becomes completely absorbing. By asking them to step back and reflect, even for a short time, they can gain great insights into themselves and their lives. The following prompts will help:

Short term planning

 When you think about the past 8 months at school, what went well/not so well?

What would you do differently?

 Think about the targets set with your teachers, how can you achieve them?

 What advice would you give to yourself now for the coming year?

 What personal goals or attributes do you want to work on this year?

Medium term planning

 Speak to them about their goals and dreams for the future.

 Use the insights gained and their ideas above to discuss their goals for the next

academic year

 Help them to break these goals into smaller more manageable targets which are

SMART (Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Realistic-Timely)

Long term planning

 Discuss how these plans fit into a balanced programme which includes fun, healthy

lifestyle and study.

 Think about how you, as a parent, can support them to achieve this.

 Repeat this exercise for yourself.

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