Mayors Message: Returning to school

With school starting soon, lets familiarize ourselves with the numerous helpful tips that make a return to school easier for children

As we approach the beginning of a new school year, it is of utmost importance that a safe learning environment is provided for our students.

In an ongoing effort to protect our children, the Voorhees Township Committee and our schools continue to work together. We will continue to have police officers in all of our public schools for the full school day.

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 in 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.

Consider starting your child on their school sleep/wake schedule a week or so ahead of time so that time change is not a factor on their first couple days at school.

Many children become nervous about new situations, including changing to a new school, classroom or teacher. This may occur at any age. If your child seems nervous, it can be helpful to rehearse entry into the new situation. Take them to visit the new school or classroom before the first day of school. Remind them that there are probably a lot of students who are also uneasy about the first day of school.

If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day. Bring the child to school a few days prior to class to play on the playground and get comfortable in the new environment.

If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk your child) to school and pick your child up on the first day. Get there early on the first day to cut down on unnecessary stress

Make sure to touch base with your child’s new teacher at the beginning or end of the day so the teacher knows how much you want to be supportive of your child’s school experience.

It is important to develop good homework and study habits. 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 and computer stay 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.

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.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.

Have a safe and happy school year!

** The second show in our Summer Concert Series will be Thursday, Aug. 22. We welcome Beatlemania Now, the premier Beatlestribute band. This mind-blowing performance takes you back in time with the legendary foursome delivering a note-for-note theatrical event that is the next best thing to seeing the Beatles. The band recaptures the excitement, the mood and the frantic intensity which evoke memories of the 60’s and 70’s. The show is free and starts at 7:30 p.m. at Connolly Park. The “Beer Garden” and food trucks will open at 6:30 p.m.

** The 10th Annual and final Chad Gunther Memorial Fundraising Dinner will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the E Loungein Cherry Hill. The event begins at 6 p.m. with an open bar and high end hors d’oeuvres. Entertainment will be provided by DJ Michael Lazar. Tickets are $85 per person. This year, the Fund will again support youth athletic programs in Voorhees and Gibbsboro as well as Bancroft Special Olympic Teams, the GVAA and the VGSA.

Reservations/donations can be sent to the Chad Gunther Memorial Fund (CGMF) at P.O. Box 404, Voorhees, New Jersey 08043. For more information, contact Peter Oteri at peterjoteri@me.com.

** The Voorhees Animal Orphanage will hold its 23rd Annual Woofstock on Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Voorhees Town Center. The rain date is September 29. The event will feature festivities for animal lovers of all ages and their leashed pets. There will be vendors, food trucks, musical acts and special guests. For more information about Woofstock or the Animal Orphanage, visitwww.vaonj.org/woofstock/.

** Voorhees Township is offering discounted tickets to Morey’s Piers in Wildwood. Tickets are available in the Municipal Clerk’s Office at Voorhees Town Hall. Prices vary according to the type of ticket and several options are available to residents and non-residents. For more information about tickets visit www.voorheesnj.com.