Pauly Pagenhart

Back-to-school Thriving Kit

It’s a list of lists! And more.

This time of year we get a lot of emails from our community. Sending your little one out of your home, at any age, is scary. Most of us have worked hard to create a beautiful, affirming bubble around our loved ones.

OFC kid nailing hopscotch, Berkeley, CA.

It’s hard to keep that bubble intact, hard to know the best way to prepare our kids, even without a global pandemic. Do we prepare them for the worst before it’s happened? Hope for the best, lest we plant dread in our kids? Or maybe zig-zag in between? No answer to these questions is easy, and the whole thing about parenting is that you don’t get to find out whether you succeeded or failed for at least two dozen years.

But at least you’re not alone in your worrying! And there is a middle path: we can explore the range of challenges that may await our kids together with them, in age-appropriate language, responding in kind to their curiosity, and sharing with them some ways they can meet the adventures (and, yes, challenges) that can await them. Meanwhile we can set to work, together with our kids’ school community, making the changes needed to lessen or eliminate those challenges. OFC is here to support you at each step.

When you prepare your kiddo’s book bag, stash these resources in your own tool bag as well – all the links below are PDFs. Some are from us, most are from our friends at Welcoming Schools, whose inclusive schools work we’ve been training educators in for over a dozen years. All address core questions, providing you and your kids straightforward responses to a range of situations that range from the mildly befuddling to the painfully challenging.

And remember: many parents have been in your shoes – including folks here at OFC. So get in touch with us if you have any worries or concerns. We staff the office Mondays through Thursdays, 9am to 2:30pm (and usually way beyond); call us there at 415-981-1960, or email us at

And check back for more as we build on this Back-to-school Thriving Kit throughout the month!

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