A good start
Starting school for the first time can be an unsettling experience. Amy Goodlace, Crawford Schools’ Early Childhood Education Specialist, provides some tips on how to make the transition from pre-primary to primary school a little easier:
Establish a routine during the holidays
Establishing a healthy routine during the holidays will ease the transition to a new school year. Even if your child can’t wait to start school, transitioning from lazy summer days to strict school schedules can be tough.
Start early and ensure that your child gets adequate sleep. Remember that a good night’s sleep means a happy day at school.
Be well prepared. Make sure that your child has the correct uniform and stationery. Establish a routine that requires your child to put out an outfit for the next day and to pack a school bag every night before bed. This will eliminate any last minute rushing. Get to school on time.
Ease anxieties. Moving to a new school – or even starting a new grade – can be frightening. Visit the school before the term starts and if possible, meet your child’s teacher.
Take your child on a tour of the school so that the premises are a little more familiar on the first day of school. Letting children know what to expect from school will make them feel less anxious.
Inform your child's teachers about any important information
Sharing key information about your child helps teachers make a connection. If your child has special needs, inform the teacher before classes start.
Encourage your child to share his feelings
Encourage your child to talk. Get your child to share his feelings about starting school. Acknowledge feelings and discuss any concerns.
Stay involved in the school community. Parents can help their children succeed at school by showing an interest in what happens during the school day. Attend all parent-teacher meetings.
Encourage your child to participate
Encourage your child to participate in extracurricular activities. This helps them to adjust to their new environment. However, don’t overload young children. Remember that time to play is still an important part of the learning process.
Back-to-school count down
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Two weeks before school starts
- Tackle the cupboards and check that you have the uniform and all the extras like hair bands, sports gear, small sun screen and so on – you don’t want to be searching madly for a swimming cap on the second day of term. Have children try on their school clothes and shoes and see if everything still fits.
- If you need replacements, go to the school shop or school outfitters as soon as possible! It’s a bun fight in the days before school starts.
- If you have the stationery list, go and stock up. Most kids love stationery shopping, so it’s a fun outing to do together.
- If your child is starting school for the first time, try and find out if any of his playschool friends or your neighbours’ kids are starting at the same school. Arrange a play date or two so that he has at least a few familiar faces when he starts.
- Start chatting to your child about the coming school year – what he’s looking forward to, the friends he’ll be seeing, any new subjects or extramurals he’s interested in. Keep it light and positive.
One week before school starts
- Stock up on the store cupboard lunchbox essentials
- Start getting children back into a school routine of earlier bedtime and earlier rising.
- Get a hair cut (the barbers are about as crazy as the school outfitters in the run-up to the start of school).
- Sort and tidy you child’s study area. Track down errant erasers and dictionaries and make sure his homework stationery kit is ready for use.
- If you’ve been out of town, or your child tends to be a bit shy, invite a school friend over to play, just to reestablish connections.
- Stock the fridge and freezer with lunchbox essentials.
- Bake some lunchbox fillers to last for the first few weeks of term
- Have one last family outing as the final treat of the holidays.