If your child will be starting school in September, you may well be thinking that life as you (and they) know it is about to change. Whilst it is a big moment for every family, with the right level of preparation, it can be an exciting and fun time. In fact, at Aldwickbury, we feel it is very important not to over-think the start of school.
A natural progression
In some ways, starting school involves a continuation of activities your child has probably mastered already, such as playing, singing, making friends and sharing. So, much of the preparation required will come naturally. If your child is starting school aged 4, there will be a wide range of different levels of ability, especially between summer-born children and the older ones, but that’s to be expected, so avoid the temptation to compare your child with others.
When children start school at age four, there’s no need for them to swot up on letters and numbers – that’ll come when they get there. What’s far more important is building independence, focusing on physical skills like dressing and undressing, eating with a knife and fork, and going to the toilet and washing hands alone. When you buy your child’s new school uniform, get them to practise putting it on and taking it off – it’ll be an exciting way to make them feel grown up, and they’ll benefit by honing their motor skills, too.
Getting your child ready for school is, for the most part, about fostering positive emotions around the experience. Talk to your child about what will happen at their new school and the good things they’ll do there. Make time to visit the school and walk or drive the route you’ll take each morning. Read stories about other children starting school or going to school.
School may be the first time your child experiences social customs like lining up in a dinner queue, putting your hand up to answer a question and making friends when faced with a large crowd of children. These can all be intimidating changes, so let your child know what to expect. Practise putting your hands up at home and attend playgroups and other activities involving other children. Organise playdates with other children who will be starting at the same time, so that there are familiar faces to ease the transition during the first days of school.
Get into a routine
Fixed times for leaving the house, having lunch and going to bed will all be necessary when school starts. This can take some getting used to, so by building these into your existing routine before the beginning of term, you can help ease your child into the changes that school will bring. In particular, it’s vital to ensure that your child has a good bedtime routine and is getting enough sleep to cope with the demands of the school day.
Caring and supportive teachers
When children start with us in Reception, it can be a time of change and transition. At Aldwickbury, our experienced and caring Reception teachers have been through this process many times before, so they understand how the children will need to adapt and are constantly there to support and help the children transition smoothly.
At Aldwickbury, our team of staff are always available to chat to you about any worries you or your son may have about starting school. Take a look at our video about a day in the life of a Pre-Prep boy for a further insight.