Things you can do to prepare your child before their first day.
· Read your child stories in which the characters are starting school – This will help your child to understand what is going to happen. It will also give you both an opportunity to discuss any worries they might have.
· Talk to your child about the daily routine. This will include;
– The morning register.
– The timetable – Teachers will usually use a visual timetable for this age which will be displayed throughout the day. The teacher may go through it with the children in the morning so they know what to expect for the day.
– Lunch time,
– Going to the toilet – if you know where it is you can tell your child. You may also like to tell them that they need to remember to ask to go to the toilet so that a member of staff knows where they are.
– Playing in the areas – The classroom will have a number of areas in which they can choose to play. I will be talking about these in more detail in a future post.
– Carpet time – the children will sit in groups for focus activities like phonics and maths sessions.
– Going home time – most schools will read young children a story to finish the day and whilst children are being picked up.
· There are no formal break times in the Foundation Stage instead they have outdoor play in the outdoor area.
· If you have been given a timetable, you can talk through the activities your child will be doing. If you don’t have a timetable you could ask for one on the first day.
· If you can, familiarise your child with the classroom and teacher before they go to school.
Talk to your child to prepare them for school. It sounds obvious but it’s so true.
Ask them;
· how they are feeling?
· What are they excited about?
· Who are they going to play with?
· What are they going to play with?
Talking to your child positively about school will boost their confidence and help them to settle faster on the day. If they are feeling anxious or worried talk through their worries, it will usually be something you can help them with. If there are things you aren’t sure about…ask! Knowledge is key. Ask other parents, friends or teachers at your child’s school.
Talk to your child about what will happen on their first day.
On the first day I suggest helping them to find their peg, showing them where the toilet is and finding an area where they would like to play.
If your child is unsettled, unhappy, sad or crying remember this is very normal. There are always a few children who are tearful on the first day and many that continue for the first few weeks. This does not mean that they won’t settle and it certainly doesn’t mean they will spend the whole day crying and upset. I have been on the other side and let me tell you it is usually for your benefit! The moment you leave your child will settle immediately! Of course this isn’t always the case and a few children will take slightly longer to settle but for the most part they will settle quickly once you have left.
Remember your child’s teacher is used to this. It is her job and she is amazing at what she does! She knows how to engage your child in an activity so they quickly forget they were upset.
A note to you…the anxious mummy or daddy…once you have familiarised your child with their surroundings and found them somewhere to play…leave!!!!! Do it quickly and make as little fuss as possible! I know it sounds harsh but believe me it is the best thing you can do for your child. There is nothing harder as a PreSchool/Reception teacher than trying to settle a child whilst the parent is still there. If your child is clinging to you ask the teacher to take them, even if it means them prising your child away from you! I promise your child will settle so much faster once you have gone.
I have seen a lovely idea where the parent draws a heart in the middle of their own hand and their child’s. If the child feels sad, worried or anxious at school they can look at the heart and know their mummy or daddy is thinking about them. This can help to provide some comfort on that scary first day.
I have a ParenTeach Community Facebook group set up specifically for parents whose children are at Primary School. If you have questions and you don’t know who to ask you can ask in there.
I hope your little ones have a great first day!
Liz x