It’s nearly that time of year again. September is just weeks away and the children will be going back to school. Some of them starting school for the first time!!!
In September, I will be sending four out of five of my boys to school. One of my sons, Caelan, will be starting school.
Starting school is a massive milestone in your childs life. The next chapter in their journey through life.
Feeling nervous? It’s Normal…I promise!
I know that there will be thousands of parent out there wondering what they need to do to prepare their child for starting school. No doubt you will be feeling anxious and worrying if your child is ready for starting school, how they will cope and how you will cope! I can reassure you that this is absolutely normal! No doubt your anxieties will be manifested from your own memories of starting school.
Preparing for starting school
I’m certainly not an expert but here are some of the things that I find help to prepare your child and yourself for starting school.
- Promote independence. Give your child confidence that they CAN do things without your help. I know we all want to do everything for our child but when starting school they have to be able to do some basic things for themselves.
- Practice self dressing with your child. Putting on their own clothes, shoes, coat and doing basic fastenings such as zips, velcro and popper buttons.
- Make sure your child can take themselves to the toilet and wash their own hands.
- Make sure your child understands the rules at meal times, such as sitting still, using a knife and folk and not fingers, being able to open food packaging themselves.
Reading and Writing
- Your child DOESN’T need to know how to read or write before starting school. The reception year of school is still within the EYFS, which is the framework that OFSTED registered childcare providers, such as nurseries and childminders use to assess children’s development. Therefore majority of your childs learning is still play based. Here’s a Parents guide to your child’s learning and development in the early years foundation stage (EYFS) Ages 0-5. What to expect, when?
- Have mark making equipment such as crayons, pencils, chalks, paper, chalk board etc available for your child to mark make, ‘draw’ and ‘write’ to allow them to gain confidence, give meaning to the marks they make, increase concentration and hand-eye co-ordination skills. All are important skills for starting school.
- Your child doesn’t need to be able to read before starting school. You may do more harm than good teaching your child to read through ‘sight words’ than phonetically. Your child will learn phonics at school which will teach them to read through a phonics programme and will be assessed in Year one through the National Phonics Screening.
- Enjoy books together. This is a great way to spend time together. Books are going to be a massive part of their school life. Take your child to your local library or purchase books about starting school, read them together and talk about them. Here’s some I found on Amazon.
Recommended books FOR STARTING SCHOOL
Other hints and tips
- Label EVERYTHING! Your child is going to be part of a large group of 30+ children. Majority of them all wearing the same or similar uniform, lunch boxes, water bottles etc. Your child is bound to forget something or pick up someone else’s belongings.
- Make sure your child recognises their ‘actual’ name, not shortened down versions as school probably won’t use them.
- Buy more uniform than what you need. Your child WILL lose a jumper or cardigan or get dirty through play and being creative.
- Accept that your child will get ill more than you are used to. Remember your child is around a lot more children than they are used to which means a lot more germs. Hold back a few days holiday at work for sick days.
- Be prepared for your child to be tired when they start school. Your child will have been busy exploring their new school environment, making new friends and learning new rules and boundaries.
- Explain that Mums and Dads can’t come into the classroom during school time and that the classroom is only for teachers and children.
- Be prepared to make small talk with all of the other parents of children starting school.
- Be prepared and accept that other parents and families may do things differently from yourselves. .
- When your child comes out of school at the end of the day, 9 times out of 10, when you ask them what they have done they will tell you that they have done NOTHING or that they can’t remember!
- Your recycling bin will be over ran with all the junk modelling your child brings home from school
One massive bit of advice
I will give you is try not to let your child pick up on your feelings of anxiety about them starting school. Your child will pick up very easily on how you are feeling through your actions and behaviours. Despite your own feelings you need to try and communicate to your child that you have confidence in them as your child will be look for reassurance from you. I know it will be hard but try not to burst in to tears on the day of your child starting school. Wait until after they have gone into school.
Enjoy the overall experience of your child starting school. I can honestly tell you that by the Christmas term you and your child will be settled into a school routine and all of the anxiety and worry will be forgotten. You will see a huge change in your childs development and themselves as a person. They will become more independent, be full of confidence, be proud of themselves and their new found skills they have learnt at school. It’s amazing to experience.
Hope you and your child have an amazing time starting school.
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