Summer holidays are looming and before we know it, it will be back to school in September (around 10 weeks away!) and for many children it will be their first time they step foot into primary school. If your child is about to embark on his or her journey into full time education then it is wise to start preparing them if you haven’t already done so.
Many parents worry that their children aren’t ready for big school! They are – don’t worry if your child doesn’t recognise letters or numbers yet, at the age of 3 rising 4 they aren’t expected to although at Shannon ChildCare we do teach letters, numbers and even how to form names among other useful things. They will be taught how to write and start to read once they begin in reception and later on in the year they will start simple addition and subtraction too. Sometimes you may encounter competition among parents; my best advice would be to ignore it! Children who have gone to nursery may have learnt more than those who have not and different nurseries teach different things.
There are plenty of good reference guides on curriculum for primary education on the web which if you want to make the transition easier, you could use over the summer as they contain worksheets and information as well as tips for parents and children. At Shannon Childcare, we do follow the Government’s Early Years Foundation Stage so our children are normally very prepared for what comes next as they have been taught the curriculum for nursery and reception. If you want to take a look at some useful literature, these two websites will document what your child will be doing over the coming 2 academic years and there are some worksheets too which you could do with your child over the summer holidays.
I do think it is wise to take your child to see their new school, most schools offer open days or visits but if your child hasn’t seen the school make an appointment and take him or her round, show them their classroom and the toilets for example. Many schools have a settling in period over the first few weeks which is excellent for allowing your child to adjust to new routines, places and people. You could also drive past it a few times to familiarise your child with where it is, and what it looks like. Talk about it, be enthusiastic (obviously, even if it isn’t your first choice!) Tell your child about when you went to school and what you did (even if you hated it!) Tell them how grown up they are becoming and how fantastic it is to be bigger!
Find out about other children in the class if you can (sometimes schools are reluctant to give out information) and arrange playdates over the holidays so that your child feels familiar with some children when he or she goes to school in September.
If you need a uniform for school, obviously get them involved, don’t buy online – take them with so that they can feel a part of their new school before starting. Show them how to fasten their buttons or anything else that they may find difficult to do.
Remember that first day is going to be a tiring one so don’t have much planned for later on. If you can, don’t cry when you see them off to their class – they will then feel emotional too! Plaster on a huge smile and if you feel like a sob, wait until they are safely inside and can’t see you.
Every child goes to school, some adjust earlier than others and you may find your first few weeks a little emotional but they will settle down eventually. The teachers and assistants will make the transition as easy as possible. If however, you don’t feel that they are settling well after the first half term, you may want to speak to their teachers to find out how their first few weeks have been. Schools should have an open door policy and welcome parent interaction.
For more information or help with transition into primary school, call Alyson on 020 8958 6630.