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From the Office of Child Care and Family Resources

Portrait of Cigdem UnalDear Families,
As the new academic year draws near, we know that the start of
the fall semester will be without precedent. The transition back
to school virtually, in-person or into a child care setting will be
unlike any other. Under these circumstances, we need to
remember that it is critical that children feel safe, connected, and
engaged through meaningful interactions, activities, and
relationships. The new school year also presents a golden
opportunity for educators and families to find creative tools that optimize the socioemotional
development and educational outcomes of our children.
With an unfamiliar classroom layout and sanitation protocols in place, younger
children may struggle to understand the changes in their learning environment.
Following COVID-19 guidelines, most children will be entering a different space
(rooms, teachers, friends), with instruction delivered partially or wholly online — all
without the benefit of the “ending” rituals of the prior year. These important rituals
help smoothen the transition from one year to the next. To help understand this
transition, early childhood experts, Melissa Butler and Junlei Li, provide these simple
strategies for families:
Here is a snapshot of their recommendations to ease young children’s worries about
going back to a child care center or school.
Be honest, clear, and direct. Talk to children about how they got to early
learning settings last year, the door they went in, who was there to greet them,
etc. Talk about the rituals they remember and how things might stay the same
or look different this year.
Talk explicitly about certainty and uncertainty, about what is likely to happen
and what is still unknown. Learning to live with uncertainty and still be able to
enjoy learning, friendship, and relationships is a key growth skill.
Take time for play! Amid this time of stress, find 15 minutes, minimum twice a
week, to sit down with a child and just follow how they want to play a game.
Children will be calmed and reassured by your attention. Focus on the simple
pleasures that additional family time provides and creating fun family
We wish you an amazing academic year full of meaningful learning experiences and
cherished memories with your children. You got this!


"The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out."

Bill Gates
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