If your child is starting school next year, they will be one of between 15 and 25 very small, very excited little people who will be in the care of one, yes that’s right, one classroom teacher.
That’s a big change from the nurturing early childhood environment that your son or daughter with unique needs may have previously been a part of.
In preschools, the ratio of adults to children is usually about 1:10, but in most Kindergarten, Prep and Reception classrooms, numbers are usually higher.
Education departments in each state and territory in Australia all have their own “optimal” limits for class sizes in the first year of school, but if your child is going to attend an independent or systemic Catholic school, you may find that these limits do not apply. The record for the biggest Kindergarten class in our local area is 33 students.
Can you imagine being the only adult among that many five year olds?
Next year, your child will be sharing the teacher’s attention with many more peers than they may be used to. You are likely to find that there are a few differences that you and your child will need to adjust to as well.
When teachers deal with between 15 and 30 children every day, there are some things that are simply not practical in the classroom.
For example, when the children have been enjoying a dance or gymnastics class, it’s not possible for a teacher to single-handedly tie the shoe laces of every single student in the group, so for the love of all things holy, buy school shoes with Velcro tabs next year.
Your child’s teacher will be eternally grateful.
While teachers understand that children in their first year of school have a lot to learn, there’s a level of independence that they do expect.
School is not a place where parents carry their children through the front gate and do things for them that they can do for themselves.
Your child’s primary school teacher will not hover over your child waiting for an opportunity to step in and save the day.
Now is the time for your child to be doing things for themselves and being responsible their own belongings.
One way to practice this skill by is giving your child a backpack to take with them when they go out. It’s never too early to place a water bottle, picture book and hat in a backpack and start giving your child opportunities to look after his or her things.
You might leave the backpack behind a few times, but this simple strategy is a great way to start building the independence that your child will need next year.
It’s inevitable that your child will lose things at school. Hats, jumpers and lunchboxes often go AWOL. Expensive musical instruments and school blazers are left on buses and kids occasionally go home with a classmate’s school bag.
Anything you can do now to teach your child to be responsible for themselves and their belongings is a good thing, and will save you a lot of drama in the long run.
Written by Sonja Walker
© 2018 Kids First Children’s Services
Does your child have the school readiness skills to make a confident start to Kindergarten?
Kids First Children’s Services specialises in helping children prepare for a successful start to school and we’d love to chat about your child’s needs and find out how we can help.
Please contact us on 9938 5419 or comment below and we will be in touch.