The Italian Almanac
Italian News - September 7
As Italian children brace for the shock of returning to school after a three-month summer holiday, child education experts are dishing out advice on how to minimise the trauma. Schools in most regions will re-open their doors at some point next week. The usual starting time is 8 or 8.30 am and this in itself constitutes the first difficulty that psychologists and teachers foresee.
With a week still to go, they called on parents to start pulling sleeping patterns back from the late nights and late breakfasts common over the summer. The crucial thing is to do it gradually, not all in one go, said Anna Oliviero Ferraris, a child psychologist, who suggested getting kids up 30 minutes earlier each day this week. "Otherwise going back to school will be a struggle," she warned.
Pierluigi Tucci, head of the Italian federation of paediatricians, advised against the common habit of allowing children to sleep till the last possible moment so as to "let them have a few more minutes". "It's preferable to get them up in reasonably good time so that they don't do everything in a rush. That way they can devote some time to personal hygiene and having a proper breakfast." Tucci also advised parents to dig out their children's old school books this week and go over a little of last year's work again with them so as to "re-focus" the pupils' minds.
One thing that all experts were agreed on was the importance of making sure kids had a positive view of school as it loomed on the horizon. Stressing the social side of school life was one way of doing this.