Parenting & Childcare Blog

8 Ways to Prep Kids in Care for a Successful Back-to-School Season

As the summer draws to a close, a new school year begins, bringing with it excitement and anticipation. However, for kids in care or foster care, the back-to-school season can be a challenging and overwhelming time. Many of these children may face additional emotional and academic obstacles that can hinder their successful integration into the educational system. As caregivers and educators, it is our responsibility to ensure they have the support and resources needed to thrive in the upcoming academic year. In this blog, we will discuss essential steps to get kids in care or foster care ready for a positive back-to-school experience.

1. Create a Supportive Environment

The foundation of a successful school year for children in care lies in providing a nurturing and supportive environment at home or in their foster placements. Ensure that caregivers and teachers work together to build strong relationships with the children. Open lines of communication, active listening, and understanding are crucial in helping the child feel secure and valued.

A joyful teacher surrounded by diverse group of young students holding a
2. Gather Necessary School Supplies

Heading back to school requires an array of supplies, and for kids in foster care, obtaining these essentials can be difficult. Collaborate with local community organizations – including Together for Youth- or schools to provide backpacks, notebooks, pens, and other essential items. This not only equips them for academic success but also boosts their confidence and excitement about the upcoming year. Make sure to talk to your BFC family specialist about possible supply drives in your area.

A variety of colorful school supplies spread out on a table, including pencils, pens, notebooks, a calculator, scissors, and glue.
3. Set Realistic Expectations

Each child has unique strengths and challenges, so setting realistic academic and behavioral expectations is vital. Recognize that some children may need additional academic support, and work with teachers and educators to create personalized learning plans to address their needs.

4. Arrange School Visits if Possible

For children who are changing schools or starting their educational journey for the first time, arranging pre-school visits can alleviate anxiety and stress. Familiarizing them with the school’s layout, meeting teachers, and interacting with fellow students can make the transition smoother.

5. Encourage Extracurricular Activities

Participation in extracurricular activities can significantly enhance a child’s social skills, confidence, and overall school experience. Encourage kids in care to join clubs, sports teams, or art classes, providing them with opportunities to explore their interests and develop meaningful connections.

A young boy in a red and white striped shirt focused intently on playing a silver flute in a classroom setting.
6. Address Emotional Well-being

Many children in foster care may carry emotional baggage from their past experiences. Create a safe space where they can express their feelings and fears without judgment. If needed, consider involving professional counselors or their care management team to help them cope with emotional challenges and build resilience.

A man kneels to talk to a young boy sitting on a park bench, holding a laptop. they engage in a conversation in a leafy park setting.
7. Support Education Stability

Frequent school changes can hinder a child’s academic progress. To ensure stability, collaborate with the child’s caseworker, teachers, and school administrators to minimize unnecessary school transfers. Continuity in education can significantly impact a youth’s sense of belonging and academic performance.

8. Promote Collaboration with Teachers

Communication between caregivers and teachers is essential to understand a child’s progress and address any emerging concerns promptly. Regularly attend parent-teacher conferences and maintain an open dialogue with educators to support the child’s learning journey effectively.

A female teacher is giving a high-five to a young girl in a classroom filled with students. the teacher is smiling and holding papers, while students sit at desks with books open.

Preparing kids in care or foster care for a successful back-to-school season demands a collective effort from caregivers, educators, and the community. By creating a supportive environment, providing essential supplies, setting realistic expectations, and addressing emotional well-being, we can help these youth navigate the challenges of a new school year.

Encouraging participation in extracurricular activities, supporting educational stability, and fostering collaboration with teachers further contribute to their overall well-being and academic success. Together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of these children, enabling them to thrive academically and emotionally throughout the school year and beyond.