SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Establish Routines for a Smooth School Year

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Girl at breakfastEstablishing and maintaining simple routines can make getting ready in the morning and the entire school year run smoothly. Here are five simple tips to get your Kindergarten or First Grade child in a "ready-to-learn" routine:

  • Make sure to get up early enough for a healthy breakfast. Research supports that having a good breakfast helps a child stay focused and alert.
  • Establish a homework location and a specific time to do homework that works for your family.
  • Have your child pack completed homework, lunch money, notes, etc. in their backpack before going to bed at night. That eliminates "My mom forgot to pack it for me this morning."
  • Eliminate the morning hassle of "what to wear." Sunday night, help your child choose two outfits to wear to school. (One for Monday, one for Tuesday) Put each one on separate hangers. Be sure to include socks, underwear, hair ribbons, etc. (You can put smaller items in a bag and attach it to the hanger.) Tuesday night help your child pick three more outfits for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Planning clothes for two or three days at a time decreases conflicts by letting children make their choices in the evening. Keep sneakers or school shoes in a specific place each night.,/li>
  • Always keep backpacks and/or lunch boxes in the same, special place. It could be a small table by the back door, or a spot in your child’s bedroom. That eliminates wasting time trying to find a missing backpack when running out the door!

Sticking to simple routines helps your child stay organized and be totally prepared for a great school day.



#1 Livia McCoy 2010-09-17 22:42
Great thoughts, Connie! Routines like this make the classroom run smoother, too. Many elementary teachers are great at this, but those of us in the upper school need to remember it too.

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?