Whether you are a student getting ready to begin a new grade, a parent about to send your child or children off to school, or a teacher preparing for students to arrive for the new year, going back to school is a big deal.
In the US, the school schedule often overrides the Gregorian calendar when it comes to major events and how we plan our lives. Although the New Year is officially in January, it is the first day of school that resets the lives of students, parents, and teachers across the country.
We plan our lives around this date, which fluctuates each year and can vary by as much as a month in different regions of the country.
Since the first day of school is such a significant date for so many of us each year, it’s important to be prepared. Going back to school can be fun, but it requires some planning to be successful.
Teachers spend a portion of their summer break planning out and decorating their classrooms. They put together a syllabus per class and check their materials against the required curriculum.
They put in a lot of prep work. If you’re a student, you should put in some preparatory work as well. If you are a parent, you can give your children an advantage by making sure they are ready for their first day of school.
First Day Of School Checklist
Below are a few examples of "Back to School" checklists that can be used by a student and their parent together to prepare for the first day of school.
We have broken the lists down into Elementary, Middle-Grade, and High School lists. There is also a list for college students. This list is mostly for the student, as he or should be able to prepare for the first day of school without much parental involvement.
Even though it may be hard to let a young child put together school supplies and do other prep tasks, it will help them be more confident and organized to learn organizational skills at a young age. Let’s take a look at the checklists.
Elementary First Day Of School Checklist
Middle-Grade First Day Of School Checklist
High School First Day Of School Checklist
College/University First Day Of School Checklist
*These lists are not comprehensive but represent the most common items for these age groups.
How To Be Prepared On The First Day Of School
Preparing for the first day of elementary school is different than preparing for the first day of college. It’s also different for a parent than it is for a child.
As you face the first day of school, let’s take a look at some things that will help students of all ages have a successful first day, and year, of school.
Prepare Over The Summer
Students of all ages can benefit from staying mentally active over the summer. This is the time to read as much as possible. Participate in an academic camp or club.
Take an internship in a field that interests you. If you are the parent of a small child, purchase a workbook of age-appropriate skills to maintain what they’ve learned over the break.
Encourage older children to use educational websites to keep their skills active. Perhaps offer prizes for completing summer education goals.
If you will be attending a new school, whether because of a move or a grade promotion, seek out other students who will go to your new school. Parents, it’s a good idea to help your student connect with others with whom they will attend school.
Purchase School Supplies
You can usually find lists for school supplies, sorted by grade, on school district websites. Sometimes, local stores such as Wal-Mart will post them as well.
Try to shop early, as supplies can run out. Purchase the basics from the list and wait on any specialty items until after you’ve attended the first day or the first few classes.
Some supply lists are generic, and you can save time and money by waiting to see if you really need the 42 glue sticks on the list.
Make Transportation Plans
For younger children, make sure you know the bus route and number, as well any policies about small children riding. If you plan to drive, know the car line and drop off procedures. School car lines can be cutthroat, so know where to go.
If your child is a walker, go over safety procedures and inclement weather plans. If you have a teenager or are planning to drive yourself to school, make sure you understand the parking lot rules for students.
If you are attending college or university, consider taking public transportation if it’s available. This can save money on fuel and keep you from having to park in lots very far from class.
Clean Your Space
It’s easier to start school with a clean environment. Whether it’s a child’s bedroom or a messy kitchen table, clean the areas of the house that are critical for school.
Make sure all desks or tables are neat and stocked with homework supplies. Have children go through old papers and toys and discard what they no longer need.
If you are starting college or university, start with a clean room and a shortcut to the library.
Lay Out Clothes
Since schools tend to start early in the day, it will save time for you to lay out your clothes the night before. This also allows you to plan for the weather.
Even small children can follow a basic weather chart and are capable of picking out their clothing. Make sure you are aware of any dress codes or uniform requirements.
If you or your child must wear uniforms, check out your local thrift store before school starts. Many families will donate their old uniforms that no longer fit, and some still look and feel new.
Get Enough Sleep
This applies from the youngest to the oldest. Every student needs enough quality sleep to successfully learn. Lack of sleep causes poor performance, poor grades, frustration, anxiety, and even obesity. Aim for the youngest ones to get 10-11 hours of sleep, while older kids can manage with about 8 hours.
In order for the brain to be at its best, it needs the best fuel. Make sure to have your child, or yourself, eat a healthy breakfast. This can be as simple as fruit and yogurt, or whole grain toast. Try to start your day with quality food to feed your brain. Keep the same ideas in mind when packing lunch for you or your child. Choose fruits and veggies and healthy proteins.
12 First Day Of School Planner Templates
Another important tool that will help you or your child succeed in school is a good daily planner. Some schools hand them out every year, while others do not. Either way, there are many available online that you can print at home.
They come in a variety of styles and layouts, so you can choose what suits your personality and your organizational style. Pick a complex one for a busy high school student. Select a basic one for a first grader. It’s up to you!
Even if you don’t use a planner for the whole year, it can be beneficial to use one for the first day, or perhaps the first week. By printing your own, you can only print what you need, rather than having lots of wasted pages. Planners usually include:
Here are a couple of websites where you can find and download planners, charts, lists, and more. There are more than 12 possible choices. Some of them require a small fee:
If you or your child is getting ready to start a new school year, there are a lot of things you can do to make the transition simpler. Start over the summer by keeping up with reading skills and staying mentally active. Use the time off to exercise, because exercise is also great for the brain. As the school year approaches, make a good list to ensure you have everything you or your child needs. Buy supplies early and do a thorough cleaning to make sure your home is ready for the school year. Finally, when school begins, prep the night before and get a good night of sleep. With a little preparation a great planner, you, or your child, can have a great first day of school and a successful year.