Celebrate back to school at ECRC carnival

By BERT GAMBINI

Published August 30, 2012

Kelly Roy
“The start of a new school year can present difficulties for families. With a little planning, these challenges can be reduced.”
Kelly Roy, Director, Early Childhood Research Center

UB’s Early Childhood Research Center (ECRC) will celebrate its 80th anniversary in style tomorrow with a Family Carnival on the North Campus.

It’s an event that'll give UB childhood experts a chance to help parents with back-to-school transition while they and their families are having a ball.

The carnival, which is open to children of all ages and not just families of those enrolled in the UB program, will take place from 1-4 p.m. in the ECRC, 15 Baldy Hall, and in the green space adjacent to Jacobs
Management Center.

The rain-or-shine event will feature pony rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house, live music and other activities for the whole family. There is a $5-per-person admission charge.

“We hope that our carnival will give families a chance to celebrate the start of the new school year,” says Kelly Roy, ECRC director. “We want children and parents to embrace that sense of anticipation and remember how much fun playing and learning together can be.”

The carnival comes as parents are preparing to send their children back to school: A time that, along with a sense of possibility and excitement, also can be stressful for all family members, she says.

“The start of a new school year can present difficulties for families,” says Roy. “With a little planning, these challenges can be reduced.”

Roy suggests smoothing the transition by trying to get everyone in the family on the same page and establishing a home atmosphere where everyone is enthused and positive about going back to school.

“If parents are anxious about it, their children will be, too,” she says.

Roy offers these tips to reduce anxiety before the first day back:

  • Visit the school before the first day.
  • Talk with the teacher in an informal way before the start of classes.
  • Play on the playground or go for a walk around the school yard to feel at home there.
  • Find books written for someone the age of your child to discuss the transition to school.
  • Help your child count down the days until school begins by making a chart or big calendar. This can build anticipation in a positive way, Roy says.
  • Include your child in back-to-school shopping.
  • Talk with your children about what they would like that is special to start the new school year. Maybe they can have more input into that back-to-school haircut or school supplies, Roy suggests. “For young children, it can be important that they have a comforting object with them in school,” Roy says. “Working on a pocket photo album together with family pictures for them to look at if they get anxious in school gives them a positive sense of anticipation and a reminder that you’re thinking of them and they’ll be home again soon.”
  • Get children into a school-time routine before school starts. “Children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night,” Roy says. “Adjusting their bedtime to ensure that they can get up well-rested early in the morning is important for everyone’s well-being. Trying to change the routine the night before school starts can make for a difficult transition for everyone in the house.”

Since its beginning in 1932, ECRC has evolved from a small preschool offering opportunities for the study of young children to a community resource providing teacher education, professional development and continued study in early childhood education. ECRC currently offers services to about 75 children, from six months through school-age, and their families.