If you have a child starting school in September, no doubt you will currently be making the most of your Summer before September arrives and you wave goodbye to your little one. This time last year I was in your position with my daughter Poppy. As a Reception teacher of nearly 9 years, I thought I would take all of this in my stride…..this was not the case. I was just as nervous as everyone else, if not more so!! I knew Poppy was ready to go to school, but I was worried she would be tired, that she wouldn’t make any friends or that she might not handle the pressure and challenges of school as well as I hoped.
Well how wrong I was! She has more energy than ever, she has more friends than ever and she astounds me every day with the new skills she comes home with. I should have known all of this. I teach Reception and am passionate about it, I know what sponges these children are and how, most of the time, they take everything in their little strides. I also know that most of the anxiety that we have when children start school is actually from the parents, not the children.
So I am going to take my parent head off now and put my teacher one on.
THEY WILL BE FINE. THEY WILL LOVE IT. THEY WILL AMAZE YOU. THEY WILL MAKE YOU PROUD.
Here is a list of tips that can help you to settle your child even quicker into school life. It is one we share with parents at my school and I am sure it will be shared to you by your child’s school too.
- Go to any open days your school may have before your child starts. It will help your child feel at ease within the setting and will help them get to know the adults that will be caring for them. If you are working or can’t attend, maybe get grandparents to take them, they will love being involved too!
- Before September, teach your child skills that will help them become more independent. Being able to dress themselves, put on their own coat and gloves, put on their own shoes, wash their own hands and tidy their own toys away are all things they will be asked to do. It will also help their confidence as they go out into that big world. If your child is still finding toilet training a bit tricky, visit your local Sure Start Centre or contact your health visitor. There are people out there who can help and support you with this.
- If your child doesn’t go to a nursery already, begin taking them to groups and have play-dates with other children to help them socialise with other children. Encourage turn taking and sharing, all things they will have to do in school.
- Your child will be taught to read and write in school, but you can teach them a love of books. Share books, talk about the pictures, take them to the library, make books part of your bedtime routine.
- Finally….be positive about school. Talk to your child about September, what’s going to happen and how great it will be to make new friends and explore new surroundings. There are also lots of children’s books out there which deal with the subject of starting school.
‘I am too absolutely small for school’ by Charlie and Lola creater Lauren Child is an excellent example, but there are plenty more. Cbeebies also have their brilliant series ‘Time for school’ which will show your child what a school setting looks like.
And finally be proud and enjoy the experience of their first day at school. Take lots of pictures………and don’t cry until you get to the car!!!!!
Sarah Wynn is a Reception teacher in North Norwich and Mum to Poppy. She also runs an events business that creates shopping, wellbeing and social events for Mums and Mums in business. Take a look at her Facebook and Instagram pages to discover more and find her next event. Search @mummanmore