Saint Leo U Educator Offers Tips for Parents to Prepare Youngsters for School

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—for parents! School begins in a few short weeks for most students. And some children may be experiencing the “summer slump.”download (9)

To get ready for the new school year and prepare for academic success, Baye Ballew, instructor of education for Saint Leo University, offered some helpful tips for parents. Ballew oversees the education programs at Saint Leo’s Lake City and Madison teaching locations in Florida. Prior to working at Saint Leo University, Ballew spent 10 years in the Columbia County School District. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2014-2015 for Melrose Park Elementary School.

What to do to prepare for school

  • Reading during the summer helps students maintain forward progression in academics. Public libraries often have activities children can participate in during the summer. A great website to illustrate the impact of reading may be found at:
  • Start earlier bedtime about two to three weeks before school begins to start school year sleep schedules. This will help avoid arguments the week before school opens. Studies show poor sleep quality and low amounts of sleep affect student learning.
  • Train students to use planners to build time management skills.
  • Make use on free websites that offer tutoring and academic games such as Khan Academy,, and PBS Kids.
  • Create a place for students to leave planners or folders brought home from school. This way students have a specific place for parents to look for school news and information so both develop the habit of checking and returning info from a central location.
  • Plan a specific place for students to complete homework and schedule a time to work. Allow the child to do as much as they can on their own, then seek help if needed.
  • For kindergarteners entering school, using molding clay helps build strength in hand muscles to help fine motor skills and handwriting. Molding clay is better than regular Play-Doh.

Saint Leo University offers bachelor’s degrees in education at its main campus in St. Leo, FL, north of Tampa, as well as at education centers in Florida and online. Earning this degree will qualify graduates for Florida teacher certification.

The university’s Lake City Education Center is at 149 S.E. College Place, Florida Gateway College Campus, Lake City, FL, and the Madison Education Center is at 126 S.W. Sumatra Ave., Suite A, Madison, FL  32340. For more information about the education programs, go to

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