What to expect when your child starts school


What to expect when your child starts school

A child’s first day at school is the start of an exciting adventure, filled with new discoveries and challenges. Like any ‘new’ journey in life, it is always good to be prepared.

Schools expect get dressed and undressed for PE, go to the toilet by themselves and pay attention. Children will be asked to take turns in both speaking and listening and do some simple counting (e.g. up and down stairs, reading door numbers etc.).

Keeping focused is often a challenge for young children starting ‘big school’, especially for learners who are very physical. Equipping your child with these essential skills is a good idea and there are many ways to achieve them.

1. Practice the school routine such as getting ready in the morning, getting dressed, and travelling to and from school.

2. Establish the bedtime and morning routine that they will have when they start school in advance. Sleep is very important.

3. Ensure your child has a good breakfast before leaving for school.  Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fibre, and protein while low in added sugar can boost your child’s attention span, concentration and memory — which they need to learn in school.

4. Always say goodbye to your child and reassure them that you will be there to pick them up at the end of the school day.

5. If your child is worried, ask them what would help them to feel better, for example, where they want to say goodbye, what they want to do after school etc.

6. If you seem worried or ‘different’, your child will sense this and begin to worry too. Remember, you are sending your child on their journey to education and independence.

7. Don’t plan too many after-school activities for the first few weeks. Rest is very important, and so is free time to explore and play at home, especially when developing gross and fine motor skills.

8. Be available to listen to your child. Children often like to tell you about their straight after school. Be ‘all ears’.

As a parent, you are establishing a new relationship with your child’s school and their teacher. Visit the school beforehand. When a child is comfortable with their environment, they are more likely to feel at ease when learning. You may want to attend the ‘preschool’ events with your child, such as ‘play and stay’ sessions, this will help familiarise your child with their new environment and school family/staff. Speak to the school about their expectations for behaviour and learning. Find out if the school has any ‘Golden Rules’ that you can start to use at home too.

Most of all, be positive and encourage your child to embrace the whole school experience. Encourage your child to embrace the whole school experience, it’s an exciting adventure!