New Schools and New Neighbourhoods in Calgary

It’s Saturday, and all your boxes have just been unloaded off your moving truck and stacked onto the floor of your new home. An air of excitement is in the air as everyone wanders the new abode and starts to mentally decorate how things will look, meanwhile the kids run in the back yard, off to explore new territory. By Sunday night though, butterflies are fluttering, even for you, the parents. Monday morning brings the dawn of a new day at a new school in a new neighborhood with new teachers and new friends. ‘New’ can be very exciting, but ‘new’ in large doses, can also be very daunting, especially for kids who may take longer to adjust to changes. Here are some great tips for secure that their first days at their new school are approached with confidence and ease!  1) Before the transition, research and read up on the schools in your new area. The Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic Board of Education offer a plethora of information on their websites about schools in their jurisdiction, anywhere in the city. Information on the school's website, whether private or public/separate will tell you what programs are in place for extracurricular programs, school councils, sizes of schools and general school events. Peruse the website and jot down any questions you have and bring them with you when you go to the school. 2) This is our second piece of advice-go to the school before your child starts there! Meet and greet the principal and front-office staff, and request a tour of the new facility on which your children should accompany you. Seeing the school and having the chance to physically walk through it, seeing other students and even seeing their grade will take the edge off your child because the process of familiarization begins immediately. The principal will also get an opportunity to start to know your child, which is pivotal. Regardless of school size, you'd be amazed how principals somehow manage to get to know each student that is registered under their leadership. 3) Remind your child this is an exciting opportunity, even if deep down inside you are truly nervous for them (admit it, we all are to an extent!). As parents, we don't want to see our children experience anxiety or fear and that worry we carry deep down as emotional discomfort ourselves needs to be flipped and channeled as nothing but encouragement and support for your son and daughter. You are their safe place and hence, safety you must deliver. If your kids are young, perhaps a children's book with some well-known characters will be soothing. The Berenstein Bears series has a book called The Berenstein Bears go to school. Another book to get them laughing is My Stinky New School by Rebecca Elliot. If they're laughing, their nerves are slowly settling too. 4) Spend time outdoors and get to know your neighbors on your new street. Chances are often very high that kids on your street will be attending the same school as your son or daughter, so give them the opportunity to socialize in a more relaxed environment. At the same time as your son and daughter is getting to know kids, chat to other parents on your street and find out more information about your school. They may be able to answer specific questions to things you didn't know how to answer for your child about the school and what is offered there. 5) Get involved! Whether you're encouraging your son and daughter to join intramural leagues or sports clubs, offer them the options and benefits of such memberships. If you are able to spare time yourself, get involved in the school too. Parental help is always needed, especially in new schools like the one opening up in Aspen in a few days, Guardian Angel. The fact that you are also navigating your way through new hallways, new names, and new settings will be a common denominator you and your child can share together. 6) Don't lose contact with closer friends of your child from their previous school. Allow them to keep in touch and listen to what news and feelings they share to their old friends about their new surroundings if you happen to be in earshot. Having your son or daughter talking about this new experience with a familiar and close friend will help you understand what else you could do to ease your child as they compare differences and similarities, as well as help you reiterate and emphasize the things your child does like about the new school. Moving to a new neighborhood and in a sense, starting over, is already a lot of work on you-helping a child navigate the change and supporting them in making the Strange become the Familiar is an extra load for a parent to deal with. Talk to your children constantly and reassure them you're there for them-with each unpacked box and each new day, you are all becoming settled in with the New and getting more familiar with everything and everyone!