12 Things You Didn’t Know About the First Day of School

In Canada, Labour Day weekend marks the end of summer, and the beginning of a new school year. We’re celebrating the first day of school with some fascinating facts that you probably won’t find in your kids’ textbooks.

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Summer

Welcome Back to the First Day of School!

Here’s one thing you didn’t know about the first day of school: It turns out there is a downside to two months of camp songs, video games and sleepovers. Students experience a so-called “summer learning loss” equivalent to about one month of schooling. 

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Tights

Tights Aren’t Necessarily Alright…

Something else you didn’t know about the first day of school? Leggings might be on your principal’s hit list. In fact, they’re prohibited at the Eastern Passage Education Centre in Nova Scotia. Lululemon fans can breathe easy for now—yoga pants are considered a “grey area.”

Check out the 12 Outfit Mistakes That Make You Look Messy!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Less Exercise

How Are Your Kids Commuting on the First Day of School?

Less than a third of kids walk or cycle to school, even though nearly two-thirds of their parents did. The most sedentary are Prince Edward Islanders: 87 per cent are driven or bussed.

Check out the 7 Science-Backed Ways Exercise Improves Students’ Grades!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Knapsack Ergonomics

Got a New Knapsack for the First Day of School?

From an ergonomic perspective, your child’s knapsack should meet the following criteria:

– It should weigh no more than 15 per cent of the wearer’s weight.
– Choose lightweight nylon or canvas over leather.
– Padded straps reduce pressure.
– It should hould sit on lower back, not bum.
– Heavy stuff should be packed at the bottom and the back.

Got a sore back yourself? Check out these Proven Home Remedies for Back Pain!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Recess

Will Your Child Have a Lunch Hour on the First Day of School?

For some Ontario students, lunch hour has been phased out—along with recess. Instead, elementary schools have adopted a Balanced School Day, with two 40-minute “nutrition breaks.”

Check out these 10 School Lunch Recipes Your Kids Will Love!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Set Sails

How Far Will Your Kids’ First Day of School Take Them?

Every year, up to 60 lucky students set sail for a semester as part of Class Afloat, a Nova Scotia-based university and college prep program on the high seas.

If that’s enough to make you want to go back to school, check out these 10 Essential East Coast Experiences!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Writing

Will Your Child Learn Cursive Writing at School?

Cursive writing is going the way of the telegram. It’s barely on the Ontario grade-school curriculum and absent on Quebec’s. A loss for calligraphy is a loss for us all: furtive texting just doesn’t have the same charm as passing notes.

Check out the 13 Telling Things Your Handwriting Says About Your Personality!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Pencils

The Fascinating Origins of a Back to School Staple

The humble school pencil dates back to the 16th century, when graphite mined in England’s Lake District was enveloped in string or placed in wooden tubes.

You won’t believe these 9 Weird Ways Pencils Changed the World!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Teachers

Something You Didn’t Know About Teachers…

Few figures are as reviled as the boring teacher. In his novel Fifth Business, CanCon icon Robertson Davies wrote: “If a boy can’t have a good teacher, give him a psychological cripple or an exotic failure to cope with; just don’t give him a bad, dull teacher.”

Thankfully, boring teachers are in the minority! Check out these inspiring Canadian educators!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Elmer

Remember Elmer the Safety Elephant?

Elmer the Safety Elephant has been teaching kids to stay clear of accidents for nearly 70 years. Here’s the evolution of a danger-dodging icon:

1947: Toronto’s mayor teams up with a newspaper editor and police inspector to devise a mascot for their new safety campaign.
1948: Former Disney animator Charles Thorson designs a cuddly cartoon.
1999: Elmer gets a makeover: sailor’s cap is out, baseball hat is in.

Are your wee ones anxious about the first day of school? Check out these Tips for Navigating Common Classroom Anxieties.

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Hair

Head Lice Love the First Day of School

One hazard that Elmer can’t protect kids from is head lice, which may infect up to 13 per cent of grade schoolers at any given time. The parasites can live for three to four weeks if left untreated.

Check out these 8 Ways to Save Money on Back to School Shopping!

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Things You Didn't Know About School: Teaching Degrees

It’s Not an Easy Ride After You Get Your Teaching Degree…

Thought your career would be set after earning your teaching degree? Think again. It turns out more than a third of graduates from Ontario teachers’ colleges are unemployed in their first year out of school.

Check out the 8 Money Mistakes Most Students Make!

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada

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