We’ve been operating Care for Kindies for over 20 years so we have prepared thousands of children for their schooling journey. Our specially designed programs focus on school preparedness to ensure our children develop the necessary day-to-day skills they will need for school. These skills include being able to follow instructions, adhering to routine, lining up, interacting positively with peers, sharing and listening during group time and completing table-top activities. Knowing that your child has been equipped with the right skills, what else can be done to prepare for school?
Lots of children (and of course their parents) feel anxious about this big step of starting school. It can cause a mixed bag of emotions, the excitement of growing up and the sadness about watching your child leave their school friends and educators at preschool. Ultimately it is important to remember that it is a wonderful and enriching time which allows your children to grow, learn and develop new skills.
It is natural for some children to be anxious about the change and movement away from their comfort zone. It is very important to be open about those feelings of nervousness and to normalise them. Reinforce that it is OK to feel apprehensive and that those feelings are normal and acceptable.
Most fears are related to not knowing what is going to happen and where things are. It is a great idea to borrow some “starting school” books from the library. You can ask your educators for a recommended list or check out these 11 books for reducing “school jitters”. Reading these books together can help your child to prepare mentally and to position school as a positive and exciting change. If your child seems concerned about starting schools, focus on the positive aspects of school and reassure your child that you will be there to support them along the way.
Know your child is ready
At Care for Kindies we explain the activities and what to expect from school. One of the children’s favourite activities is bringing in their lunchboxes to prepare for morning tea and lunch during break times at big school. You can involve your child in this and take them food shopping so that they feel part of the new processes.
If you are looking for lunchbox ideas, there are some great factsheets from the NSW Government about healthy eating. This one is a helpful article with some lunchbox ideas and you can also go in Pinterest for some clever lunchbox ideas.
The skills they need
“Is my child ready?” It’s the thought that keeps so many parents fretting during the weeks before school starts. You can focus on the skills your child has already learnt at preschool and remind them they are ready for their next big step. You can also actively practise these important skills to increase their competence.
- Your child will have learnt how to write and recognise their own name at our centre. You may like to get them to practise writing their name on their new stationary, uniform and forms. It can be fun to ask your child to find their name amongst lots of other words. Make it fun and playful.
- Your child has developed spelling and literacy skills. You can practise this by going through the alphabet and the sounds that each letter makes again to reassure your child that they are prepared for all the new and exciting things they will learn at school.
- Your child also knows how to use the toilet and to clean themselves afterwards independently.
- Your child understands the importance of hand washing and using soap, washing both sides of their hands and in-between their fingers, before drying.
- Your child knows how to talk to other children by looking at their eyes and smiling, asking what their names are and introducing themselves. You can practise this with your child using teddy bears and their favourite toys.
- Your child has become familiar with important routines such as eating at certain times, collecting their items and getting dressed.
- Your child also has engaged in show and tell to work on their public speaking and confidence. They are familiar with listening and understanding. Your child also knows the importance of sharing and turn taking.
Visit the school
Take an exciting trip to visit the school and explore the area around it. You may like to go on a special and exciting trip together to buy your child’s uniform and the essential items for starting school, such as a lunch box, new shoes, jumpers and stationery. Turn the visit into an exciting adventure so that your child feels supported along the way.
Orientation days allow your child to become familiar with their new school. Make the day as fun and stress free as possible so that your child’s first “big school” encounter is remembered fondly.
Practise makes perfect
As you get closer to the “big first day”, it can be a good idea to do a dry run. If your child is unsure about the whole process, practise putting on their uniform in the morning, having breakfast, packing their bag and walking or driving to school.
Preparing children and their parents to settle into school has become second nature to us. Remember that this is a momentous milestone which we all go through. Please speak to our educators if you have any further questions or would like additional resources. We are here to help!