If your child is starting school in 2022, then the countdown to walking through those school gates has already begun! There are so many emotions associated with starting school. Your little one might be feeling nervous, scared, excited, curious, happy, or perhaps feeling a number of these emotions! Preparing your child for “big school” can feel a little daunting.
Today, I would like to share with you FIVE quick and easy ideas to support a successful transition to school for your child. Ones that will assist them in being school-ready, with fun and confidence.
1. Include your school starter in preparing the things they will need to take to school
When buying and collecting things in preparation for school, it is essential to ask your child for their input. Including your child in the decision making; from lunchboxes to labels, increases your little one’s sense of ownership and hopefully leads to a greater understanding of responsibility and care for their belongings.
2. Try out all the things
This second tip seems simple, but it’s a biggie and promotes success for your school starter from day one! Being able to open and close a school bag independently and to find items easily is an enormous advantage and is a huge confidence booster for little ones.
Prior to school, practise small tasks such as opening a lunch box and using a drink bottle independently. Try a few different models to find which will work best. Don’t underestimate the value of rehearsal in preparation for school.
3. Take a stroll around the school
Familiarising your child with their new school will help them feel at ease on that first day. In addition to the school’s orientation, you may wish to walk past the school at different times of the day. For example, a school yard alive during lunchtime with children running, playing and exploring is very different to seeing a class walk across the grounds during learning time.
These experiences provide organic opportunities to understand different aspects of school life and will be sure to spark curiosity and open conversations with your little one. Providing additional knowledge beforehand allows children to feel confident as they step out into their new environment.
4. Can you spot your name?
When your little one starts school, chances are they will find their name is written all over the place; the spot where the bags hang, on the back of the chairs and on their desk. EVERYTHING is labelled! The key to your child starting school with a bang is to ensure they feel confident and happy. Imagine your child walking into their classroom for the first time and being able to see exactly where they need to put their bag, knowing which chair is theirs. Oh, the relief they will feel – suddenly, it doesn’t feel so daunting!
Being able to identify their name starts at home. For your little one, recognising their name on their bedroom door or using magnetised letters is a great start. Encouraging young learners to ‘have a go’ at signing their name on a card, or identifying the letters and sounds in their name, promotes recognition. With such positive encouragement, your little one may even start to write their name independently!
5. Talk about all the feelings!
Recently, I asked my School Readiness Club community how they were feeling about their little ones starting school next year. I had so many mixed responses, but one response that stood out for me is one I believe resonates with many mums. This mama said she was super excited for her son to start school, but was also a little sad as it meant that he wouldn’t be around as much. Awww – my heart! Starting school is an adventure for the whole family, and there are many emotions associated with this significant milestone. The more positive you are about school, the more positive your little one is about it, as well.
Therefore, it is essential to acknowledge how you or your school starter are feeling and to provide a safe space to talk about why you might be feeling this way. For the example above, the mama should acknowledge that she feels sad that they will spend less time together. However, she could also add that she is excited to do special things when they see each other at the end of the day, such as walking home, playing in the backyard or talking about their day as they prepare dinner.
Starting school is such a significant milestone in your little one’s life. The countdown to the big day is special and should be celebrated by the whole family. I hope you enjoy every single moment and I encourage you to try these tips as you prepare your child for this new adventure. For more information and resources relating to school readiness, remember to head over to my Instagram account @thereadinessclub_or check out www.thereadinessclub.com.au.
A big thank you to Tess from The Readiness Club for sharing her tips to help your little learner prepare for school! Tess has created the most incredible school readiness packs and she has so graciously offered a 10% discount code for our readers! Head on over to her store and enter the code CASEY10 to save 10%!