At St Gerard’s Primary School, we understand a child’s first year at school is an important one. It’s a year that children are seen moving towards independence, developing self-esteem, making connections and building positive attitudes towards their schooling.
Whether your little learner is ready to go, or a bit apprehensive, there are many ways that you can help them prepare for life in the classroom.
Talk about school. Ask your child what they think about starting school and whether they have any questions. See if friends and other family members have positive stories about school.
Promote independence. Encourage your child to follow more than one instruction at a time and do things on their own, like getting dressed, going to the toilet, blowing their nose, coughing into their elbow, washing their hands and opening their lunchbox and drink bottle.
Get involved. Attend any transition-to-school programs offered by your child’s school. Meet the teachers, principal and other parents so that you are feeling confident as the first official day of school approaches.
Nurture their learning and development. Encourage your child to observe things, describe things they see and ask questions and express their feelings. Developing a supportive relationship between your family and your child’s school will create a nurturing learning environment.
Encourage finding and using their voice. Support your child in asking clarifying questions and seeking assistance. Be positive and demonstrate active listening when your child is being inquisitive.
Model positive mental behaviour. Make a mistake and let your child see the steps taken to solve the problem. Mistakes are part of life and children should be encouraged to take responsibility for their actions as well as understand reasonable consequences.
Keep your child healthy. Make sure healthy eating habits are demonstrated at home. Eating fruits and vegetables each day help keep little bodies happy and health. Establishing good sleep routines before school starts, helps little people cope with the busy start of the school year.
Create positive routines and behaviours. Do a practice school run, show your child where their new school is and explain how you’ll get there. Practise getting ready for school, join pre-arranged play dates and share in your child’s excitement. If they’re a bit apprehensive, help them think about the up-sides of starting school.
Read books. We encourage families to read lots of books about starting school, so visit your local library or bookstore for titles like, Starting School by Jane Godwin, First Day at Bug School by Sam Lloyd, The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing, Wombat Goes to School by Jackie French or First Day by Andrew Daddo.
In summary, parents can help prepare children for school by:
- Talking about school and listening to their thoughts
- Encouraging independence
- Explaining practical arrangements and doing ‘dry runs’ and reading lots of books
- Model positive behaviours and routine at home
- Being positive
The transition to school is a big change, and whether children are excited, apprehensive or undecided, your choice of school plays a key role in helping children and families embrace the change.
At St Gerard’s, we work together with families to achieve quality learning within a positive school environment, which we believe, is essential for children to experience success as learners. education.