Prepare for a Successful School Year 8


So long summertime! It’s time to get back to school. Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement. It’s fun buying new clothes, picking out school supplies, and calling friends to see if they are in the same class. But it can also be a time of great anxiety. Ramping up for the hectic and fast paced new school year can be a hard adjustment from the lazy days of summer.

Help calm your child’s fears (and your own) with these tips from the administrative heads of Holland Hall’s primary, middle, and upper schools.

Primary School

Primary School Head Bert Bibens says, “After a summer of fun and play, the start of school can mean big changes for young students! To set your Primary School child(ren) up for a successful start, begin healthy school routines before the first day. Returning to respectable bedtimes, quiet time in the evenings spent brushing up on letters, words, reading and counting/math skills, and device-free family dinners and conversations can help set the stage for the upcoming school schedule.”

He says it’s important to prepare students for new responsibilities and increasing independence through simple practice activities such as buckling/unbuckling their seat belt, packing and opening/closing their book bag, and getting dressed and putting on shoes.

“Finally, cutting down on screen time and encouraging board or card games and reading will help bolster problem-solving skills and prepare students for the expectations and experiences of school,” says Bibens.

Middle School

Joel Bicknell, Head of Holland Hall’s Middle School, says it’s natural for Middle School students to feel that excitement and, perhaps, some anxiety… seemingly at the same time.

He says, “The beginning of school is an exciting time! Parents can help their children effectively manage this transition by guiding them away from the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. To alleviate fear of the unknown, talk with your children about the routines you will have as a family, the upcoming school schedule and extracurricular activities, and what to expect in the classroom from their new teachers. Reinforcing an open line of communication with your children and establishing one with their teachers will set everyone up for success at the beginning of the year.”

Upper School

In the Upper School years, the best way to prepare students for the start of school is to talk about their personal goals for the year. Upper School Head Frances Fondren-Bales explains that these conversations can be about academic growth —possible outcomes in classes or new academic challenges.

She says, “But be sure to broaden the topic to include goals about extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities, or the social world of high school. With older students, the parent’s role in these conversations can be the “guide on the side,” rather than the “sage on the stage,” allowing the student to articulate their goals and then helping to provide guidance on achieving them. Also, encourage your child to share their goals with an advisor or trusted adult at school so that members of the school community can provide additional support.”

About Holland Hall

Tulsa’s only Pre-K through Grade 12 independent Episcopal school, Holland Hall provides a challenging, comprehensive educational experience grounded in a rigorous liberal arts, college preparatory curriculum that promotes critical thinking and life-long learning. Visit for more information.