Dr. Almas Al-Mutairi, a family medicine consultant at King Fahad Medical City (KFMC), stressed the importance of preparing students for the new school year, both psychologically and physically. She emphasized that the real objective of such preparation is creating a well-balanced generation, with regard to the psychological, physical and social aspects. "We have to embrace and support the students' feelings, whether they feel happy, scared or anxious, as they prepare for the new school year," she stated.
Dr. Al-Mutairi said: "Students need a special and positive psychological treatment before the commencement of the new school year. Some students will move on to the next stage and some are 'freshmen'. It depends on two main factors: the first is the role of the family at home which can be achieved through setting a sleeping schedule that allows the student to sleep early and get sufficient sleep for at least 8 hours a day, waking up early and having a healthy breakfast. Parents should encourage their children and give them easy tasks, especially the younger children, such as drawing, coloring, reading stories, cutting and pasting, and teaching them letters and words according to their age and abilities. Parents should further participate in opening up channels of communication between school and home under which falls the way of communication with the students, how they spend their school day, and listening to them with focusing on the positive behaviors, reinforce them, correct the negative ones, and trace and redress the reasons and motives for such behaviors. Therefore, the parents' preparation for the school year is extremely essential for the students from a psychological aspect that can be accomplished by eliminating any sense of complaint and distress about their return to school through providing the students' school needs and finding alternatives to any problem, for example: financial problems that can be discussed with the school counselor. Also, there should be a specific time for watching TV and playing video games because depriving our young daughters and sons from such activities may affect their personalities."
Dr. Al-Mutairi added, "The second factor is the role of teachers and the school through encouragement, direction and guidance. They should encourage and support students to succeed and excel, so that students, especially the new ones, can feel they can resume their educational progress. Direction and guidance should be provided in order to correct mistakes and inappropriate behaviors in a positive manner by the school. Criticism, control, sarcasm and punishment should be avoided; rather, reinforcement should be used. Students should also feel welcome and receive smiles in order to eliminate any fear or anxiety and to create a loving and comfortable school atmosphere. As for the school curriculum, it should be intellectually-based. Unnecessary information and rote learning should be avoided in order to create a creative generation. Health care services should be provided in schools, in terms of the medical facilities inside the school, quality of food provided, following up on the students' health, identifying their health and social problems, solving such problems properly and as soon as possible to avoid any further problems in the future. Students differ in their personalities, mental abilities and social environment, and such differences should be taken into consideration in the school."
With regard to students who failed last year, Dr. Al-Mutairi said: "I advise the family to accept the existing problem, the student must also accept it in order not to psychologically affect his educational career in the future: parents should discuss problems facing their child during the past year and seek to find solutions in a peaceful dialogue as well as finding positives and negatives and try to resolve them, and if necessary, they may seek help of psychiatrists specialized in this field".
Dr. Almas concluded her speech by directing an advice to the teachers to: "set a good example for your students and remember that the educational message and the development of the new generation and the secret of the buildup of this nation is a custody in your hands." Dr. Almas went on to give another advice to the family by saying:" You have to create a healthy and suitable educational environment based on the teachings of Islam, this is in addition to the daily communications with our children and create a calm and healthy negotiation environment by listening to them and solving their problems so as to buildup strong family and social ties