Starting school is a key milestone in your child’s development. Most people continue to remember their first day long after they’ve left school. Although it’s exciting, it can also be a worrying time as everything is so new to your child and perhaps yourself if you’re sending your first child off to school. Take time to prepare both you and your child for this big change to ensure it goes as smoothly and enjoyably as possible. Read our guide, “Five Ways to Prepare your Child for Starting School or Nursery” below:
1. Encourage Independent Skills
Before your child starts school, encourage their independence in the basics. Encourage them to get dressed and undressed, to use the toilet independently, to get their coat on and off, to recognise their full name, to cut their food, to be able to feed themselves and to get their shoes on and off. If they can’t tie laces yet, start them off with velcro shoes and only buy lace up school shoes once they can tie and untie their home trainers. Make sure they’re used to putting away their belongings and toys after using and playing with them.
2. Meet up with other New School Children
If it’s possible, meet up with other children who will be starting at the same school during the holidays. Having a familar face already inside the classroon will help your child and their friend settle in more easily. Try to swap contact details with other parents during the open day or familiarisation days. This will mean you have someone you can share any worries or questions about your child starting school with too!
3. Prepare for the Nursery/School Setting
Prepare yourself and your child for the particular nursery or school setting you have chosen for them. You will have already been to an open day. Make sure you attend all the familiarisation days too. If you don’t pass the building most days then take a different route so you can walk or drive your child past the building so it becomes familiar to them.
Read the nursery or school prospectus and website fully and pass on important and relevant information to your child. There are specific ways you will prepare for different educational settings, for example if you choose a church, Welsh speaking, Montessori, forest or The Curiousity Approach accreditated school or nursery.
You may have chosen your child’s new school or nursery because of the location and atmosphere of the setting and not yet know much about the ethos behind their chosen methods. In which case, do some research before your child starts school, for example “search what is the curiosity approach?” to find out all about how this method aims to promote awe and wonder in early childhood.
4. Get into a Routine During the School Holidays
Young children can find school tiring when they start school. Make this easier for them by getting them into a routine during the summer holidays. Make sure they have an earlier bedtime and being to get used to getting up at the time that will be needed for getting to school. This will ensure they are used to getting up at that time and feeling fresh and ready for the school day.
5. Be Prepared
Read the prospectus carefully so you know what your child needs to be prepared for school. Is there a school uniform (if not buy some appropriate clothes that are kept for school). Will they need: school shoes, a bag, lunch box and water bottle, school labels, PE kit, kit bag, swimming kit, stationery etc.
Starting school is an exciting time and part of your child growing up. Be sure to make the most of the time you have with them during this summer holidays. Read with them every day too, it will not only help prepare them for school but is a lovely activity to do together. Have lots of materials out for them each day so they can practice mark marking, drawing and colouring too, it’s good fun but will help their confidence for doing these activities in school too.
Good luck! I hope they enjoy their first day and future days at school!