Focus on Routines this New School Year

Portrait Of Female Teacher Holding Digital Tablet Teaching Line Of High School Students Sitting By Screens In Computer Class

Are you feeling a variety of emotions, from anxiety to fear to joy, as the school gets underway? Transitions are always challenging. But we may be feeling it even more given that the last four years were extremely unpredictable for school communities.

We invite educators to focus on building routines as young people get settled into school buildings. Setting expectations for routines early on sets us up for a regulated, connected new school year.

Here are some resources and ideas to support educators and school staff for this upcoming school year:

  • Start building routines for yourself first. Coming off of summer break can be hard, and creating reliable routines in our personal life can help set the stage for a successful school day. Here are some tips on creating lasting routines at home.
  • Build rituals and routines at the start, end, and throughout the school day to promote predictability. Students who have experienced trauma thrive in structured environments. Breathing techniques, creating calming spaces, collaborating with students on class norms, utilizing self-regulation cards, and taking brain breaks all help create a trauma-informed classroom.
  • Develop a realistic plan for dealing with stress. Educators have experienced ongoing vicarious trauma, and your feelings are valid and deserve to be cared for before you’re expected to care for others. Taking care of ourselves looks different for everyone, but the important thing is that you have a realistic routine to sustain energy throughout the school year.
  • Create routine check-ins to connect with fellow educators and school staff. Collaborating with co-workers is an excellent way to feel an energizing, shared sense of purpose, work more efficiently and effectively, and learn from one another. We are social beings, and creating routine connection times with your co-workers helps strengthen the whole school community.
  • Co-create consistent routines with your students. For routines to be successful, they must be clearly communicated and include some buy-in from students. Here are some tips on how to do so.

Routines can be flexible and adaptive, however they should remain stable and dependable for the most part. When routines differ from the norm, it is helpful to openly discuss the change and anticipate possible implications in a developmentally appropriate manner.

After the uncertainty and trauma of the past few years, it may take some effort to reestablish routines this new school year in your school community. We hope these resources are helpful and we are here to support you!

If you would like to learn more about creating classroom community or any other aspect of our work, check out our upcoming workshops schedule, or please contact us at or 206-782-1595.