We know how emotional starting school can be for little ones – and big ones – too, so MUMBLER (and primary school reception teacher) Caroline has written a fantastic blog about how to prepare your child for school.
“This is a topic that is very close to my heart for two reasons:
1) My eldest daughter started school last year and is about to go into year 1 (blub)
2) I am a primary school reception class teacher as well as Mumbler owner
I therefore couldn’t let August end without offering some words of advice for any parents who will be waving off their little ones on the first day of school in a couple of weeks. I know exactly how you feel – whether this is your first or last child starting reception, it is an emotional time and a huge milestone! Hopefully by now you have met your child’s teacher and have had some transition visits at the school or at home. You’re probably gathering together the last bits of uniform needed and mentioning the big day to your mini mumbler frequently in order to prepare them (and yourself). Over the next few weeks, there are a few things you can do to make their transition smooth and also give them the best possible start…
Develop their independence: dressing, putting shoes on, hanging clothes on pegs, eating independently, using the toilet independently, speaking to adults or other children to build their confidence
Make a point of walking or driving past the school and chat about how you’ll get there, where you’ll enter etc
Try on the uniform (including PE kit, coats, shoes etc)
Talk about the teachers by name and remind them of any transition activities / meetings they may have had
If it’s possible, meet up with any children you know who are going to be in their class for a play date
Label EVERYTHING! Seriously…everything. Then check it after a month or two to see if it is still labelled.
Prepare yourself for drop off.. Some children cry and I know from experience as a parent and teacher how awful this is but honestly, the best thing you can do is start as you mean to go on. I advise my parents to ‘kiss, cuddle and go’ – whether their little ones are crying or not. As teachers we have thousands of tricks up our sleeves for calming a crying child but we cannot implement these until parents have gone – 99% of the time children stop crying within minutes of their parents leaving and adapt far more quickly when they have been used to Mum, Dad or whoever it is leaving straight away. I can’t speak for all teachers but I always ensure that I call parents once their child has calmed down to reassure them that they are OK.
My final bullet point gets it’s own introduction because I cannot stress the importance of this one enough…
Read! Bedtime stories / anytime stories are hugely beneficial to your child’s early vocabulary, imagination, communication and understanding of the written word. In addition to this, reading ANYTHING with your child will further develop these skills. For example: fact books, magazines, newspapers, menus, shopping lists, signs
You will be absolutely amazed by how your child develops this year – they’ll learn to read, count, gain confidence, use wonderful vocabulary, tell you facts about things that you didn’t even know and hopefully, develop a love of learning – that’s the aim anyway. Doing all of the above will give them a super start but as the year goes on, it’s worth noting that the most successful pupils in school have lots of sleep, have limited ‘screen time’, are encouraged to be independent and experience play at home (outdoor play, model building, crafts, lego, baking etc).
Finally, I just want to say that your child is in good hands – trust in the teachers (I know it’s hard) and make sure you communicate any concerns you have. Your child is beginning their school journey – this needs to be a partnership between school and parents and any way that you can support the work that is happening in school will benefit your child.
I hope you’ve found something helpful from my ramblings and wish you and your mini mumblers all the best with the big day and beyond – brace yourselves… your child has never been as tired as they will be for the first term at school. It’s a painful seven weeks!