“Back to School!” It is a phrase that elicits happiness, sadness, relief, anxiety, tension and excitement from students, parents and teachers alike. It marks the end of summer fun and the chance for a new beginning.
Returning to school after a relaxing summer can be a trying experience for both children and parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers help and safety tips to ease back into the school year.
The first few days are always emotional, especially for younger children. Parents should emphasize the positive aspects of starting school. Remind children of the fun of seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride with on the bus.
Develop good homework and study habits for your child. Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a permanent workspace in a bedroom or a part of the home that offers privacy. Set aside ample time for homework. Establish a household rule that the TV stays off during homework time. Always be available to answer questions and offer assistance. To help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying, children should take a 10-minute break for every hour of study. If your child is struggling with a particular subject, a tutor can be useful. Talk it over with your child’s teacher first.
Too often, we hear of tragic accidents involving school buses. Children should wait for the bus to completely stop before approaching it from the curb. Never move around the bus, always check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing. Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus driver.
When traveling to and from school in a car, all passengers should wear a seatbelt or use an age and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat. All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear of the vehicle. If your child walks to school, make sure it is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards along the way. Consider whether your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision. Bright colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.
Have a safe and happy school year!
**Woofstock, the Voorhees Animal Orphanage’s biggest fundraising event of the year, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Connolly Park on Centennial Blvd. Rain date is Sept. 11. The event will feature festivities for animal lovers of all ages and their leashed pets. Crafters and vendors are welcome. Admission is a $1 donation, but senior citizens and children under 12 are free. For more information about Woofstock or the Animal Orphanage, visit www.theanimalorphanage.org or call 856–627–9111.
**The third annual benefit for the Chad Gunther Memorial Fund will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the E-Lounge, 807 Rt. 70 West, Cherry Hill. The fund was created in 2009 as a living memorial to a young man who loved children, sports and helping others. Though his life was cut short, the fund honors Chad’s memory by helping needy children to participate in various activities and sports. Tickets are $50 per person and include dinner, beverages and entertainment by comedian Paul Venier. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Bob Shulman at 856–782–1666 or at email@example.com. Donations can be sent to the Chad Gunther Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 404, Voorhees, N.J. 08043.
**The 2011 Summer Twilight Series concludes with the Township’s Annual Movie Night in the Park on Saturday, Sept. 24 (rain date Saturday, Oct. 1). The students in the Voorhees Schools will vote on their favorite movie to be shown on the “big screen.” The event is free and begins at 7:30 p.m. at Connolly Park.
**Congratulations to Voorhees resident Mary Lamielle, Executive Director of the National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, Inc., who was recently honored for her work in environmental stewardship. Mary received the 2011 New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award for Public Service, PSE&G Environmental Stewardship Award for her decades of work to protect our public health and help our community and our families avoid toxic exposures and choose healthier alternatives.