Taking that first step to ‘big school’
Is your child starting primary school? Here are some tips to ensure the move is a smooth one.
Most schools have an induction day or ‘Meet the Teacher’ day. This is a really important time for your child to see what their new classroom is like.
They will probably enjoy an afternoon or morning in the classroom which will be set up to be very similar to a nursery with lots of familiar activities. The teacher will probably read them a story and will chat to each child.
Hopefully, this will be an extremely positive experience and they will take that home with them. But if you have missed this there is still plenty you can do.
Let them practise wearing their uniform and PE kit. Lots of parents forget this and then expect their child to be comfortable on their first day. Uniforms can be very different to what your child is used to wearing.
Children of this age can be sensitive to change. Remember that children will have to change into their PE kit on their own at school with very little help so practice makes perfect!
Avoid buying new school shoes with laces. Your child has to become more independent, so help them as much as possible by either buying shoes with Velcro straps or slip-on trainers/plimsolls.
Leave ‘special toys’– comforters, blankets, teddies – at home. Start by encouraging your child to leave it in their school bag or the car, working towards leaving it at home tucked safely in a place of their choice, ready for them when they return from school.
Help them become more independent by encouraging your child to hang up their own coat and bag on arrival at nursery or at home. Ask them to do some little chores at home, too.
Prepare them by teaching them to put their shoes together at home or putting some of their own belongings away. Remember by helping them to be more independent you are helping them to feel confident and self- assured.
If your child has basic self-care skills, they will be able to access the curriculum with confidence. If they are very reliant on adults for their own care, they will find learning more daunting.
Do not linger: explain that they are going to have the best time ever (implanting this idea is very powerful) and that you will see them later.
If you or your child still struggle with separation, start this process now at nursery.
Drop them at the classroom door, give them a big hug, and off they go. If you forget to tell the staff something, do not go back into the room: pop to the reception desk and they will pass on a message.
Starting ‘big school’ can be a very emotional time for parents, too! Don’t show your child that you are upset on their first day. If they see you upset, they will think they should be upset too – and this is very unsettling!
ABOVE: School is the best time ever!