Here are some top tips to help ease the transition for you and your child.
Before they start school…
Ask them what questions they have about school.
- Let them know what to expect from the first few days.
- Encourage them to talk to other children and to take all concerns to a grown up, they shouldn’t be worried about speaking up about anything no matter how small.
- Teach them to recognise their own name, they may not be able to read or write but they will need to recognise their name to find their coat peg, tray etc. Write their name out and type it out, then stick those up for them to see so they can still recognise it in different styles. Ask them to find their name amongst lots of other words. Make it fun and turn it into a game.
- In the build up for the first week try to practice the routine with bed times and mornings. Try doing a couple of sit down activities at the table to start to get them used to sitting in a classroom. This could be reading a book together or doing some drawings.
On the day…
- Stay only as long is necessary, once they feel comfortable it is time to go. The quicker you leave the easier it will be for them to settle down and understand the environment without you.
- Try not to cry in front of your child as this could upset and confuse them, especially as you’ve been telling them how great big school is and that they will love it! If needed, say goodbye and go and have a good cry outside with a friend!
- Say hello to the other parents and arrange a meet up, you could maybe go for a coffee straight away. All the other parents are in the same boat as you and also feeling a little unsure, they will be looking to make friendships too. It’s just as important to build solid relationships with the other parents as it is for the kids to become friends, after all, you will probably be around each other for many years if the class moves through the school together.
- Ask your child every day what they did at school, encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings and retell what they have learnt, this helps them to process information and embed it in their mind.
- Keep some of the best drawings and photos of the projects your child completes, in a “My First Year of School” scrapbook, which both you and your child could write in together. They can add more of their own writing and drawing as their ability develops, which in itself will be a fantastic record of achievement! Be sure to add the photo of them on their first day and finish off with another on their last day. They will have grown so much and it will be a lovely memory keepsake of this very special time in their life!
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