6 back-to-school tips for newcomer parents

It’s time for back to school! Here are six quick tips and reminders for parents with kids heading to class.

1. School supplies are a must to remember when it comes to getting your child ready for back to school. A backpack, stationary, appropriate clothing and shoes for upcoming weather changes, and much more. Ask your kids or look around for the recommended school supply lists provided by the school for the relevant grade. “It’s good to get started ahead of time and to check out various stores and stay within budget,” says Shweta Bassi, a settlement worker at DIVERSEcity.

2. For newcomers, check out the Surrey School District English Language Learner Welcome Centre to connect with an advisor about your child’s school registration. “They may need to have an assessment to know which grade they should register for,” says Gurminder Gosal, also with DIVERSEcity settlement services.

3. As a parent, have transportation arrangements for your children to get to school and back in a safe and timely manner. “Remember to reload bus passes or think about your work schedule around this,” says Shweta. “You may also have to teach your child about how to navigate public transportation.”

4. Connect with others at the school by attending parent–teacher meetings and participate in your child’s school activities. Plan ahead by finding out the important dates and keep them in your calendar. Learn about resources at the school for both you and your child.

5. Encourage your children to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports teams, school clubs or other activities within your local community. Check out DIVERSEcity’s Youth Integration Program that is tailored to helping immigrant youth succeed.

6. Help create regular routines for you and your child so that the transition back to school is not too challenging. Build and maintain strategies around time management, sleep, hygiene, exercise, nutrition and social activities to foster your family’s overall wellbeing.

Need help in settling in BC? Contact us at 604-507-6060  or

— Gurleen Kheeva