A positive parental attitude is crucial to smoothing the way for five year olds about to embark on their first adventure into the world of formal schooling.
Youngsters heading off to primary school for the first time are more likely to adapt if their parents exude confidence and an upbeat approach to the move, said preschool educator Vikki Cooper.
‘‘Hide any nervousness you might have as a parent – make sure your approach to the move is a positive one.’’
Strategies that help smooth entry into year one include working on small things that can help make children independent and more able to self manage – perhaps things like making their bed, finding their shoes and packing their lunchbox.’’
She suggested letting the children hang up their own bags when going to school, and said supportive activities at home should reflect the requirements of the schools they will move in to.
‘‘For example,’’ said Vikki, ‘‘teach them the correct pencil grip, and if you are showing children how to write their names, make sure you don’t teach them in capitals. That just means they will have to re-learn it in lower case when they get to school. ’’
Inspiring confidence and a positive view of school in youngsters was allimportant. Children who recognised their names, and able to put on their own shoes or clothes, go to the correct toilet and get out their lunch were more likely to assimilate happily. All of these could be practised ahead of the move to school.
The one-teacher environment of year one means children need to feel secure about putting their hand up to attract attention, she said, and youngsters better able to make social connections have an advantage.
‘‘Parents should try to get to know the names of the children their youngsters share a table with. It is also an idea to drop a little note into their lunchbox – even if you just draw a love heart or another picture on it. Such little tips help reinforce a parent’s connectedness with the child, even though they are not with them.’’
Vikki said parents needed to adopt a happy routine when dropping their youngsters at school. Parents who stayed too long could be making it worse for their children.
IDS: Building a child independence before they head to school or preschool is a vital step.