Students gear up for in-person learning— experts say interacting with peers is vital
Summer break may be around the corner, but counselors at the McAllen Independent School District say it’s essential to begin preparing children for in-person learning for next school year.
While some parents have already sent their kids back to school, many are still learning in virtual classrooms.
In McAllen, counselors at Gonzalez Elementary School said the benefits younger students get from interacting with others is vital.
“The classrooms are a little community,” Lisa Foley, a school counselor, said. “We have this strong, strong, drive to build relationships.”
While it’s normal for students to be nervous or concerned about heading back to school after a year of studying at home, experts said there are ways to combat those feelings.
“Talk to your children, ask them how they feel about returning,” Oscar Tagle, a school counselor, said. “Validate their emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Tell them what the school is doing to ensure that they are being kept safe.”
Though some children may be unsure how to interact at first, counselors say that doesn’t last very long.
“We want to make sure that when they do meet with their friends, they still have that bond,” Foley said. “Sometimes it’s a little awkward, but then we— make sure we have that unity.”
If a child has trouble adjusting to life back in the classroom, counselors will help.
“We address the social, emotional, and academic aspect of the child,” Tagle said. “Staying connected with our students and their families is crucial.”