Starting primary school is a big step for children – and for parents – so nursery teacher Suzanne Roberts has put together some tips to ensure the move is a smooth one.
Most schools have an induction day or Meet the Teacher day, which is a really important time for your child to see what their new classroom is like.
If your child misses this, they will miss out on knowing what you mean about going to school.
Let them practise wearing their uniform and PE kit. Lots of parents forget this and then expect their child to be comfortable on their first day.
Uniforms can be very different to what your child is used to wearing and children of this age can be sensitive to change.
Remember – children will have to change into their PE kit on their own at school with very little help so practice makes perfect.
Avoid buying new school shoes with laces. Your child has to become more independent, so help them as much as possible by either buying shoes with Velcro straps or slip on trainers/plimsolls.
Leave ‘special toys’- comforters, blankets, teddies – at home. Start by encouraging your child to drop these in the nursery class bag on arrival, then leave in their school bag or the car, working towards leaving this at home tucked safely in a place of their choice ready for them when they return from school.
Your child’s teacher will not be wiping your child’s bottom so please teach them to do this for themselves.
Help them become more independent by encouraging your child to hang up their own coat and bag at home. Ask them to do some little chores at home, too.
Prepare them by teaching them to put their shoes together at home or putting some of their own belongings away. Remember by helping them to be more independent you are helping them to feel confident and self- assured.
If your child has basic self-care skills, they will be able to access the curriculum with confidence. If they are very reliant on adults for their own care, they will find learning more daunting.
Do not linger: explain that they are going to have the best time ever and that you will see them later.
If you or your child still struggle with separation, start this process now at nursery, or if they have already finished, going around to friends houses.
Starting ‘Big School’ can be a very emotional time for parents too. Don’t show your child that you are upset on their first day. If they see you upset, they will think they should be upset too.
Suzanne Roberts is a nursery teacher and manager at Burgess Hill Girls Nursery. For more information, visit burgesshillgirls.com
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