By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the last few days of summer vacation, children in the Delaware Valley will soon be back in the classroom.

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And  two local experts have some practical wisdom for parents of children headed back to school.

Cynthia Santiago, a special education teacher at Nebinger Elementary School, Sixth and Carpenter Streets in Philadelphia, says elementary-age students can start off on the right foot if their parents do a couple of things beforehand.

“Reestablish the bedtime and mealtime routines,” she advises.  “Include pre-bedtime reading.  Some household chores. Also, turn off the TV.  Encourage your child to play quiet games — do puzzles, flashcards.”

Activities that get your child to focus are key, she says.

For older children, Jonathan Kircher, principal of the Keith Valley Middle School in the Hatboro-Horsham District (below), had some slightly different advice for kids headed to middle school.

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“Have them just relax,” he says.  “Even though it is a monumental, huge transition, we really want to focus on kids as individuals and not just getting right into reading and right into math.”

(Middle school principal Jonathan Kircher.  Photo provided)

(Middle school principal Jonathan Kircher. Photo provided)


Kircher says it would help ease your middle schoolers’ anxiety if, for example, he or she knows how to open a school locker, give them guidance beforehand at home.  Also, he suggests, encourage your child to make friends with kids from other schools.

Kircher says keeping an open mind is key to success.


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