In this blog Whoosh Learning is exploring starting school. Over a series of blogs leading up to September we hope to support you and your child with this next and important step.
As we start to get ready for the summer holidays, many parents are starting to embark on preparing their child to start school. As this time approaches, parents often look back and question how their baby grew up so fast and where the years have gone. Life goes so fast and in a blink of an eye there you are applying for schools, measuring feet for new school shoes, buying crisp new school uniform and maybe even shedding a tear or two! For children and parents this is the start of a BIG adventure into the world of school, formal learning, new routines, new friends and social situations and even preparing to hear all about your child’s number one teacher!
As a Reception teacher for most of my 20 year career, it has always been a HUGE privilege to nurture, care and enable children to love school and learning! It has always been a joy to open the classroom door and see children happily skipping in with huge smiles, feeling confident, full of awe and wonder and chatting animatedly about their life and experiences. What an honour to be a part of this journey. In the next few blogs, I will be writing about ways to support your child (and you) over the next few months in this grand new adventure with “little steps forward” towards that classroom door ready for September.
Fun ways to help your child prepare for school:
- Visits to the school – try to visit a few times before the summer holidays. For new reception starters there are normally stay and play visits set up by the school or maybe attend a school fete.
- Over the summer walk past the school and talk about the things they see. You could make this into a fun game e.g. I spy! This will prepare your child for the journey to and from school and make this a new and normal routine.
- Look at the school booklet/ website and talk about the fun things that will be at school e.g. sandpit, climbing frame.
- Find photos of your family members during their school days and talk about your experiences/ what you liked about school.
- Reading fun stories about starting school – see some examples below.
- Pete the Cat rocking in my school shoes by Eric Litwin
- Starting school by Janet and Alan Ahlberg
- Harry and the dinosaurs go to school by Ian Whybrow
- Little Hedgehogs big day by Heidi Howarth
- Going to school by Rose Blake
- First day at bug school by Sam Lloyd
- Mouse’s big day by Lydia Monks
- Hugless Douglas goes to little school by David Melling
Other top tips -ways to support new school routines
- Build up your child’s confidence to ask for help or talk to adults.
- Practise to use an adult sized knife and fork to prepare for lunchtime routines.
- Also when you are serving up dinner, teach your child the names of the food/ meals e.g. spaghetti bolognaise, macaroni cheese and what it is. You may think this is obvious but sometimes when given an option at lunchtimes, children don’t know what the different meal names mean.
- Practise toilet routines and how to wash hands properly.
- Practise becoming a little independent e.g. putting on their coat – the coat flip is a great party trick! Just search for “coat flip” and lots of videos will pop up to demonstrate!
Things to be mindful of:
- Anxiety – adult emotions. Although you will be feeling a little worried too, try and avoid sharing this! Focus on the positive and stay as calm as you can. It is a new change but an exciting one! Yes it will take time to get used to some of the changes but like everything you will get there!
- Sharing too much so that it is overwhelming. Sometimes by talking about school a lot, even though it is all positive, can build up apprehension and anxiety. Also avoid saying things like “I didn’t like school” and overly calling your child “Big” or “Grown up” – they are still little and it can put pressure on our little folk.
Transition should always be viewed as a process not an event that happens in one day.
Take it slowly and step by step. Remember… little steps forward. In my next blog I will offer some other insights to help you and your child to prepare for school. Until then, enjoy your first few visits, meeting new teachers and classmates and having a peak in the school building!