This and last week, many of our Rising Stars graduated from Carking 4 Kids, as they prepare to start school next year.
It can be hard to believe that the little baby who not so long ago struggled to put food in their mouth without smearing it on their face will soon be starting their 13-year-long school journey.
It’s an exciting time, but also a nerve-wracking one. Schools are such a big place compared to the child care centre and can seem a little daunting.
Here are some tips to help you make the adjustment to school:
Visit the School
You’re probably already attended an orientation session or two, but if you feel your child would benefit, you can organise additional visits to the school. Ask the school if you can watch when they play a sport or sit in on a school assembly.
Arrange play dates
Maybe all your child’s friends at their current childcare centre are starting at the same school as them, but that’s not always the case. It’s nice to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar situation, so if you know anyone with children at the same school, try to spend some together. Even if they don’t become besties, they might offer some additional support.
Talk to Your Child
Although children this age might not easily grasp the idea of an event being weeks and months in the future, you can discuss that it’s coming and perhaps start a countdown calendar. Talk about school positively: now’s not the time to discuss your horrible 2nd-grade teacher that was mean to you. You should also gauge your child’s response, whether they are excited or nervous. And if they aren’t interested in knowing too much, that’s ok too and you can probably save your breath.
Praise Appropriate Behaviour
Parents don’t want their child starting school already behind all the other kids and worry if they can’t read or write much beyond their name. Schools don’t have too much expectation in this regard. Some kids have been taught the basics, others haven’t, but it’s the schools’ job to get everyone more or less up to speed in the first year. There are, however, certain things you can work on with your child. These include encouraging them to play independently or with other children, waiting for their turn, looking after their belongings, feeding themselves and using the toilet without any assistance.
Read about school
There are lots of children’s book which explains to your child what happens at school in an unobtrusive way. Or if you are feeling creative, you and your child can make their own book. Here’s a link to a template to build a story using photographs of your child. (You will need permission to take photos at the school). As you read and make it, pay attention to what your child is saying, so you can get a better understanding of what they feeling about the transition.
Talk to our Child’s Carer
Your childcare educator will have a better of understanding of how your child behaves in a group setting when you are not there. Ask them for any advice on areas you might need to work on or discuss with your child in the lead up to starting school.
Take the lead from your child
Once they star school, remember that no child will respond the same. Some wave you with barely a backwards glance as they skip off to kindergarten. Others find the amount of new things challenging. Some settle straight into the school routine, while others find all the new activity tiring. Some embrace school wholeheartedly at first but become clingy when the novelty wears off. Don’t assume your child is going to react a specific way, but keep an eye on them for cues about how they are finding the experience.
Starting school is a big change, but it’s an exciting time too. Have a great year!
Not quite ready for Big School? Contact us to see how we can be your child’s home away from home.