If you’re sending your child to school for the first time this year, you’re possibly feeling a little uncertain about what the coming weeks will bring.
The first few weeks of Kindergarten or Prep are a learning curve for everyone, including children, parents and teachers.
The good news is that your child will be warmly welcomed at ‘big school’ and will quickly become familiar with its new faces and places.
Kids First’s teachers have been helping children make a happy start to Kindergarten for years. Here are 10 of our top tips for you and your child as school begins.
10 ways to help your child make a successful transition to Kindergarten
1. One of the things that Kindergarten children worry about most is that mum or dad will forget them at the end of the day. Make sure your child knows who will take them to school and pick them up on the first day.
2. Lay your child’s clothes, hat, shows and socks out the night before so that the morning runs smoothly.
3. Make sure that your child knows how to open their lunch box, plastic ziplock bags and drink container before school starts (Some shy children will not ask for help if they are struggling and you don’t want your child to go hungry as a result)
4. Help your child to pack their school bag with a snack, drink, lunch and a hat (This way they will know what it is in their bag and what to look for at recess and lunch time)
5. Place a spare pair of underpants and a change of clothes in a plastic bag in a discreet spot in the school bag and let your child know these clothes are there in case of any accidents at school
6. Schools can be big places for small children, who easily become confused in large playgrounds. Visit the school before the term starts so that you can settle on a meeting spot and show your child where you will collect them at the end of the school day
7. Ensure that your child has a healthy breakfast. (Kids need energy to get through a busy day at school and in the excitement of meeting new friends and playing new games, can sometimes forget to eat)
8. Resist the temptation to let your child watch TV or play on an iPad before school. A ‘no screens’ approach to the start of the day can make getting out the door on time easier for everyone.
9. Develop a regular bedtime routine so your child can wind down at the end of the day and get a good night’s sleep. (Children aged five need around 10 to 11 hours sleep a night)
10. Once you get to school, keep it positive — even if you have a tear in your eye. When you’re saying goodbye to your child, make it a quick, light, reassuring, ‘See you later!’ and then leave as quickly as you can. Teachers report that children usually settle relatively easily when mum and dad have left.
First day contact with the teacher
The first day of Kindergarten or Prep is probably the busiest day of the year for your child’s new teacher.
As much as you might feel the need to have a detailed conversation about your child’s needs or your concerns, the first day is not the time for it.
If you have any information that you think needs to be relayed to the teacher, make a call or send an email to the school in the days prior to school starting.
In Australian schools, teachers usually return to school at least one day before the students do, and many Kindergarten teachers spend several days at school preparing their classroom in the last week of the school holidays.
Once school has started, you can easily contact the teacher to arrange a meeting. The best way to do this is to phone the school office, where staff will advise you of the best time to reach the Kindergarten teacher or an email address on which the teacher can be contacted.
© 2016 Kids First Children’s Services
Worried about your child’s transition to school?
The professional team at Kids First has helped hundreds of children make a successful start to school. Contact us if you are worried about any aspect of your child’s learning or development on (02) 9938 5419