Summertime Prep for School Year Success

If you have a large therapy caseload like me, I’m assuming your average school day consists of working with students from arrival to dismissal, answering emails over lunch, and consulting with teachers before or after school. I’m also guessing your average school night consists of answering a few more emails, updating IEPs for annual reviews, and billing Medicaid for services. Finally, I can bet that you spend your Sunday nights figuring out schedule changes and planning therapy activities for the upcoming week.

Whew, the school year is definitely busy and can sometimes feel overwhelming. I used to spend my precious weekends planning activities for the week ahead, but not anymore! A couple years ago, I started implementing a summer month-by-month system to prepare for the upcoming school year. This system has been life changing and has ultimately given me so much more free time on the weekends to spend with my family.

  • May: After the school year ends, I typically have one to two weeks left in May. During this time, I focus on prepping my therapy binder for the upcoming school year. I remove and file my attendance logs and goal pages, and I refill the binder with new pages. I also write down helpful notes on the goal pages, such as “left-handed,” “works for iPad,” or “uses a slant board” in case another therapist ever needs to cover for me.
    logs goals
  • June: During June, I start browsing online for weekly activity themes. My number one strategy for finding fun activities is searching Instagram for school-based OT or COTA accounts. I then scroll back through their posts until I get to August of the previous year. From there, I write down all of the seasonal and themed activities that I want to try that year, including any supplies needed. I also look online to find two or three new worksheets per weekly theme. I save each worksheet as a PDF, and I also print and file a paper copy.
    seasonal activities
  • July: When summer is about halfway over, I go shopping for supplies and start making all the activities I saved from June. Sometimes it can feel a little silly making things like a candy cane clothespin activity or a Santa beard pom-pom push in the heat of summer, but I embrace Christmas in July! I store each new activity in a monthly tote, so they are ready to take and go!

  • August: I try to relax and soak up the final days of summer. Before long, it will be time to start scheduling students again!

Don’t let summer get away from you this year. Follow my summer prep system for stress-free Sunday school nights!

Tahnee Steinkamp

About The Author

Tahnee earned her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2010. She has worked with the pediatric population in the school setting since 2010 and in the outpatient clinic setting since 2013. Outside of work, Tahnee enjoys spending time with her husband, Nathan, her daughter, Zoe, and her dog, Ruthie.

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