Kids are currently working on their arts-and-crafts, cutting through construction paper with scissors, using glue sticks and crayons to recreate scenes from the children's book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It's a scene which never gets old for teacher JoEllen Showers.
"The children come in with so much excitement. Everything is new and wonderful," Showers said. "They really want to be engaged and learn. They’re excited to meet new friends and to meet their teacher."
Showers is going into her 22nd year teaching Kindergarten in the Susquehanna Township School District. She has seen it all; inside the classroom when it comes to the youthful exuberance of her kids, and outside in occasionally dealing with parents, nervous in sending their children to school for the first time.
"There`s always a little bit of uneasiness of the unknown," Showers said of parents. "It's mostly excitement of meeting new students and families, helping them on this new adventure."
Showers has advice for parents who might be skittish the first week of school. First, she says, keep an open mind. Know that teachers are trained for this. They keep kids active with art projects, toys, and books. Most of the time, Showers adds, it's the parents who are more nervous than the kids.
"Teachers work hard to make their classrooms inviting and engaging so that it's a fun place to be," Showers said. "That helps with early jitters."
Second, Showers says to keep an open line of communication with your child's teacher. Often times, she says, there are back-to-school nights, or parent-teacher orientations, where parents can meet and talk with their teacher about what they have planned for their students.
"If there's a concern, reach out to the teacher, and the teacher will do the same as well," Showers said.
As important as it is to stay connected to your child's teacher, Showers says it's more important to constantly talk to your child. Ask them how their day went, what they learned in school, and what they liked. Look in their backpacks and folders to find clues as to what they enjoy. Also, make sure you read to them every night. Studies show that reading to children, starting as early as infancy, will help their language and literacy immensely as they grow older.