Preparing children for school

schoolIs it really March already – where it the time going? In a few short months your little one will be starting school and  facing all the challenges of a big noisy classroom. We are working really hard to prepare them – we are focussing on their social and emotional readiness and doing lots of activities to teach them how to, for example, put up their hands to ask a question and wait for friends to finish speaking before shouting out.

There are lots and lots of ways you can help your child to be ready for starting school. Here are just a few ideas from teachers to help you prepare them…

– Give them lots of time to do things by themselves – putting on their coats, doing up their shoes, getting themselves dressed etc. If they take ages then let them start earlier so they have time to do it independently.

– Give them lots of praise for trying hard as well as succeeding.

– Give them the words to describe how they are feeling – when they are happy or frustrated or upset or clingy describe their emotions to them and let them know that it is ok to feel like that.

– Give them choices – what do they want to wear? Where do they want to go? What do they want to do?  They will be given lots of choices when they are at school and they need to know how to answer and that their opinion matters.

– Let them choose what game to play with you – follow their lead and let them decide. It can be really hard to let them take the lead but it is important that they are prepared for independent play at school.

– Listen to your child’s worries about school – even if they don’t seem important to you they might be very big and scary to your child.

– Chat to them and do things together – they will enjoy cooking, helping you to clean up, helping with the dishes (and making a mess).  Even if they make things harder they will still be learning from you.

– Read with them – go through the book without chipping in first and then read the book again and let them ask questions, tell the story and read it to you – they won’t understand the words yet but they can tell you about the pictures and you can have fun making up new endings for books you enjoy reading together.

– Be a good role model – let your child see you reading books, finding things out, eating healthily, counting money out loud so they hear the numbers and see the shapes of the coins etc.

– Ask them questions and listen very carefully to their answers. Not questions like ‘what colour?’ or ‘what shape?’ but questions that show you are interested in what they are thinking and doing.

– Walk or drive past the new school a few times and talk about it with your child.  Remember your school days with your child – the happy times – and chat about them together.

– Have a daily routine so they understand that things happen in order – they get up, have food, play, have more food etc. This will help them when they start school because they will recognise the routine of their day and understand that certain things have to happen before you come to collect them.

– Read a starting school book with your child. This is one of our favourites which you are welcome to borrow…

starting school book

– Laugh, dance, sing, read, play, go outside, get dirty… children learn best when they are happy and playing

Most importantly spend as much time with them as you can over the coming months, playing and having fun. They will grow up and be independent so quickly once they start school!

Chat soon, Sarah.

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