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New Mexico's Leading Family Publication Since 1992

New Mexico Kids! family magazine is a bimonthly tabloid filled with detailed listings of activities for children, teens and their parents, grandparents and teachers, along with comprehensive directories of public and private schools, summer camps, afterschool programs and other vital resources.

About 30,000 copies of New Mexico Kids! are distributed to more than 350 locations in Albuquerque, the East Mountains, Corrales, Placitas, Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Eldorado and Española.

Each issue features a full-color reproduction of a New Mexico child's painting on the cover, and contains articles filled with practical tips and ideas for raising New Mexico children. In New Mexico Kids! family magazine, you won't find the generic parenting articles you can find elsewhere. We offer local help to local families.

New Mexico Kids! is a must-read for anyone who has or works with children or teens, birth through college.

New Mexico's Leading Family Publication Since 1992

Starting Right: 

How To Help Your Children Kick Off A Great School Year 

By KAY SNYDER

It’s the time of year when store shelves fill up with school supplies and children begin to count down the days until the first day of school. For parents and guardians, back-to-school time may bring dread or relief, or a mixture of both. A new school year brings new beginnings, new teachers, new friends – and sometimes new problems and anxieties. But, according to local teachers, there are several ways families can help their children – and their children’s teachers – transition into a successful new school year.

1. Help prepare students. Children don’t like being thrown into new situations any more than adults do. Some simple preparations can go a long way to ease children’s back-to-school jitters. Preschool teacher Karla Holck, who has taught preschool- age children in New Mexico for almost a decade, advises families to talk to young children so they know what to expect the first few days of school. “It is so much more beneficial to the child and the teacher to prepare ahead of time. Let [the child] know what will happen,” she says. Many preschools and elementary schools offer an open house so children can meet their teachers before the first day of school. Parents and guardians also can discuss the daily class schedule with their children so they know when to expect events such as lunch, play time, nap time, and especially, what time their parents or guardians will return. Families of older children can prepare students by purchasing necessary school supplies, picking up class schedules and studying school maps to help students find classes. Steven Hegmann, a history teacher at Capital High School in Santa Fe, says that although high school students often don’t receive their supply lists until school starts, families can still equip students by helping them arrive on time on the first day with pens and paper. 

2. Help prepare teachers…but not necessarily on the first day. Cathy Bell, a New Mexico elementary school teacher for 41 years, stresses the importance of sharing necessary information, such as health issues and food allergies, with teachers as soon as possible. But she advises waiting to share the non-essential information until the teacher has had time to adjust to the new class. She suggests writing a letter or an email so the teacher can read it at a convenient time.
Information about the family also is important to share with teachers, especially in a state that is as rich in cultural diversity as New Mexico is. Specifics about family holidays, traditions, taboos and celebrations can give teachers an understanding of how to help each child find a place of belonging in the classroom. Holck says knowing each child’s background ahead of time helps her appreciate and celebrate each child and family. “Every family is its own culture; every family is unique,” she says. And, she says, knowing the unique culture of each family helps her create a classroom where children feel like important members of a shared community. 

3. Form a good relationship with teachers. Perhaps one of the best way to help children flourish in school is for parents and teachers to work together as a team. Personality differences and misunderstandings can sometimes make this difficult, but Bell suggests the effort is worth it. “Establishing a good working relationship builds a supportive environment,” she says. Bell reminds families that teachers are human too; they make mistakes and they have bad days. But speaking badly about teachers, especially in front of their students, won’t help children thrive in their new classrooms. Bell suggests parents try to be supportive of their children’s teachers, even if they don’t agree with them all the time. Respectful and honest communication between school and home is key to children’s success at school. Holck says it isn’t always perfect in a preschool setting either. “There will be issues,” she says, “but we are here to work with you. Teachers want to collaborate with families to make the classroom a healthy, safe and educational place for each student.”