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Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts wants to help kickstart the school year Offers nine ways to do back-to-school better

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) is hoping to help local families prepare to head back to school. With the effects of COVID-19 still impacting schools across the state, getting children ready for the first day of school early is important. That’s why JAWM has complied these nine was to do back-to-school better in 2021:

  1. Set and stick to a schedule.

For a few weeks before school starts, get in the routine of getting up early and having children eat meals when they would during the school year. This will help lessen the shock the first week of going to bed and rising earlier as well as having a set time to eat meals rather than the looser schedule of summer.

  1. Go over any changes for this school year.

Is your child heading to a new school this year? Will they have a new bus route? Are any rules and regulations, especially COVID-19 related, different for this school year? Go over any changes with your child early in the summer so they can adjust and ask questions.

  1. Make sure kids are up to date on medical care.

Many schools require a physical before the school year starts, so make that appointment early. Even if it is not a requirement, the beginning of a school year is a good time to focus on overall health and wellbeing.

  1. Create a homework friendly space.

Make sure there is a spot in the house the children can work on their homework. Somewhere quiet equipped with the supplies they need to get their work done.

  1. Decide on extracurricular activities.

Take a look at what the school, town and surrounding area offers for extracurriculars like sports, dance, theater and more. Decide what the kids want to try out and sign up for. This will help them prepare for any try outs and give you time to figure out equipment, expenses and scheduling.

  1. Dial back screen time.

If the kids are getting more screen time in the summer, start to ween them off as the first day approaches. Create a schedule or time limit for during the school year to encourage other activities.

  1. Find the right supplies.

School supply shopping is a great way to teach your children about financial literacy. Give them a list and a budget and have them involved in purchasing the supplies they need. This will teach them to make smarter choices when it comes to spending and help include them in the planning process for back to school.

  1. Bring mental health conversations into planning.

Many children feel anxious about the start of a school year, and with all the changes throughout the past two, this year may be more nerve wracking than ever. Be sure to talk with your children about any anxiety they are feeling and talk through how to deal with it. Visiting the school, meeting their teacher or getting to know some of their classmates prior to the first day may ease some of the jitters on the first day.

  1. Celebrate!

The first day of school is the beginning of a new chapter in your child’s educational journey. Celebrate with a special dinner or other family activity ahead of the big day. Relive all the fun you all had over the summer and mark the start of a new year.


“The first day of school holds so many memories for all of us,” said Jennifer A. Connolly, President, JAWM. “We want to help make sure families are prepared for the big day to make the memories of the 2021 school year happy ones. Our programs are designed to help students succeed and starting out the school year the right way sets kids on the right path for the remainder of the year.”


Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts provides age-appropriate, academically challenging programs to local schools and community groups free of charge. To learn more about their programs visit


About Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts was founded in Springfield, MA in 1919 and is the birthplace of JA. Today more than 13,000 students in grades K–12 in Western MA participate in JA programs annually. For more information, visit