August Newsletter | Back to School 2022: Preparing and Planning

←Read past newsletters

Back to School 2022: Preparing and Planning

Lea este artículo en español aquí.

Every August, something in the air shifts, bringing the transition from summer break to a new school year. This transition usually comes with excitement and anticipation—and yes, additional stress—for teachers, staff, families and caregivers, and students. Preparation is key to minimizing stress for everyone; this month’s newsletter is full of ideas to help the 2022 school year start smoothly!

Preparing at Home

While the new school year has an official start date, preparing at home can begin weeks in advance. Early preparation at home can help students with autism and other developmental disabilities acclimate to or revisit new and familiar routines. Consider phasing in routines such as bed time, bath time, getting dressed in the morning, and choosing a meal for breakfast.

Practicing the routine of going to school before the first day can also help alleviate anxiety for everyone involved! Try simulations: conduct the at-home morning routine that best fits your situation, practice putting on a backpack, take your transportation of choice to school, and end the activity with positive reinforcement.

Consider optimizing your home environment for morning routines ahead of time. Things to consider include:

        • Are there consistent, easy-access places for a backpack, jacket, and school clothes?
        • How can you use visual supports such as schedules and checklists to streamline morning activities?
        • What favorite breakfast meals can you plan ahead?
        • If things change unexpectedly (perhaps you have a visiting family member, or there’s a day off from school), what does your Plan B for the morning look like?
        • Be sure to refer to STAR’s free home supports for more routine ideas!

Teachers can share these suggestions and resources with parents and caregivers, too!

Preparing at School

Teachers and staff are hard at work behind the scenes well before students set foot in the classroom. As you’re setting up your classroom, consider:

        • How is your learning environment arranged? Are there alternative layouts that could facilitate small group sessions?
        • What routines do you want to establish with your students from Day 1? Revisit the Arrival Routine Guide and transition schedules to start things off smoothly.
        • Reach out to families and caregivers in advance to establish contact, and consider either sharing the All About Me worksheet (Pictures | Fill in the Blank) in advance for students to fill out, or using it in class to get to know students.

Remember, direct instruction doesn’t have to happen on the first day; building routines and rapport through rotating activities and using visual schedules can help establish foundational skills that will bear fruit all year long.

For more tips on transitions and using visual schedules, consult these free resources!

More Back-to-School Fun!

The new school year can be stressful, but it can also be fun! Exciting, interactive activities can set the tone for the school year and help keep students motivated. Check out this fun classroom game to kick off the school year! And help students follow rules with this game-playing visual support. We hope you have a great start to the 2022-2023 school year!

Use STAR, Links, or SOLER
curriculum in your classroom!
Read our newsletter for tips on navigating the classroom in 2022