When preparing a child for school, it is really important to remember that the preparation is not about assessing the child’s academic skills. It is about helping the child to develop positive self-esteem and confidence. A positive disposition will promote a child's readiness for school.
Everyday experiences are great opportunities for learning. Children learn best through doing these with people they love and trust and when learning is fun!
You are your child's first and most important teacher and the support you give your child will help them to develop into life long learners.
We know that sending a child to a new school can be a daunting experience for parents and carers as well as the children! Many parents will have unhappy memories about school. We want to help and support you through this time.
Top Tips for starting School
◦Visiting the school is an important part in helping your child overcome any fears.
◦Ask the school teacher if possible to take or have some photos sent of your child's classroom, teachers and any other areas you think may be helpful. The photos you have can then be discussed throughout the summer holiday so that the school becomes familiar.
◦The communication between parents/carers and the school must be positive to ensure a smooth transition. If you as a parent have any concerns or fears be sure not to discuss these while the child is in earshot. Other communication methods like phone calls or emails can be just as effective.
◦Have lots of positive conversations about school, without overwhelming them with lots of different emotions about missing preschool and the big journey ahead. Keep the conversations positive and limited.
◦Use stories to explore the role of a new school. Stories can empower a child to reason and problem solve independently.
◦Recognise your child's relationships with other children they will be moving up with, having friends in the same class may help the child adjust to their new environment.
◦Although we are not asking the children to be able to read and write nor it is appropriate to expect them too, by the time they go to school it is helpful for the children to be able to hold a pencil effectively and begin to form the letters of their name.
◦Recognising their name is another helpful tip as they will be able to self register and recognise personal items such as items of named clothing and pegs.
◦Build on their social skills, particularly as we have had a very hard year, start going back to the parks and other activities if and when you feel ready to as a family.
◦Summer playdates with classmates, keep in touch over the summer to help the children to keep the relationship they have for when they go to school together in September.
◦Get them FULLY toilet trained. This, of all the self help skills, is the most important. Get you child confident about getting to the toilet on time. School will be a new exciting experience and so will be very distracting so expect some children to maybe leave it a little late a couple of times for the first couple of weeks.
◦Confidence to talk about their feelings, if they are feeling worried or unwell that its okay to talk to their teacher and helping them to build up that bond just like they have here with us.
◦Buy school uniform as soon as possible before it sells out and practice taking it on and off for going to the toilet and getting changed for PE.
◦Routines are so important especially when getting ready for school. A clear consistent routine should start a good few weeks before the first week of school. Dinner – bath – story – bed. Sleep is so important for children's learning and without it they are going to have added stress and anxieties.
◦Avoid tears at the school gates and in front of the children. We know, and the school know, this is just as hard an experience for you as it is for the children. Try and avoid a long goodbye, like we say it is best if you just go.
◦If you are handing over information to a teacher i.e. they have had an emotional morning or had a bad night don’t talk about it in front of the children, let them go in first then have a chat or call in later.
◦Lots of positive "your going to have a great day", "you will have lots of things to explore and learn" (avoid the words 'toys to play with') and "your going to have an amazing day".
Each year Ladybirds@Riverside Preschool - Abingdon host a School Transition Evening for parents.