4 tips for Grade R preparation

It’s hard to believe, but the year is slipping away. By now, if your child is due to go into Grade R in 2013, you should have found a school and registered your kid. Apart from booking a place, there are some things you can do to make your child’s transition easier.

Blankie and doll weaning

The blankie, doll or stuffed tiger your child has been lugging EVERYWHERE for the past couple of years needs to go into semi-retirement. Most schools prefer that toys are not brought into class, unless for show-and-tell, so in order to avoid last-minute trauma on the first day of school, start gently weaning your child off any object which they use for comfort. This needn’t be a painful process, if you’re patient, kind and positive in your approach.

Clothing, diet and naps

A classroom environment will mean that there’s slightly less freedom in choices of food types, eating times and clothing choices. Find out what times the school you’ve chosen has snack or meal times, what foods they don’t allow, and whether or not your child must comply with clothing rules, such as wearing shoes, for example. Then you can start to mimic the eating habits now, in preparation for the big day. Similarly, nap times may need to be adjusted.

Age-appropriate school readiness

Kids going into Grade R don’t have to be able to perform academically- they’re going to school for that, but you can help your child to prepare by doing basic skills such as jigsaw puzzle building, cutting with safe scissors, pencil grip and posture. These needn’t be strenuous activities, as your child may not be able to concentrate for long periods, but rather just fun crafting times at home.

Expressive action

One of amazing things about small kids is their ability to absorb information. A great skill to start working on is showing them how to express all of the awesome fun that they’re having. When you go on a nature walk, talk about what you’re seeing, and ask them questions: What does that look like, what does that colour remind you of, how many birds are on that fence. When you get home, ask them to tell you about what they enjoyed most, or what was interesting about your trip.

You may be panicking about how your little one is going to cope with the changes, but, if you find out as much as you can, and understand what your child will be going through, it will give you some peace of mind, too.

Are you feeling nervous for your child as Grade R approaches?
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