Following up from our post last month about preparing children for nursery, we’ll now take a look at preparing them for school as they approach the age of five. Preparing them well will pay dividends on many levels, not least to make it as stress-free for them as possible. Foresight and preparation will also help them transition smoothly.
Any good nursery or pre-school will, of course, help your child to prepare for starting school. Indeed, attending a good nursery/pre-school is one of the best ways to ensure that your child is well-prepared, in readiness for school, so they can hit the ground running from day one. At Treetops Nursery School in Willesden, ensuring they are ‘school-ready’ by the time they leave us is one of our key goals.
Aside from educational and learning factors, how can parents help prepare their children for School? We’ll explore some of the options.
How Parents Can Prepare Children for School
There are quite a few ways in which parents can help children prepare for the start of Reception Year at school:
- Have you sat down with your child and forewarned them what’s going to happen, when, how and why? Put their mind at rest so they’re mentally well-prepared, ahead of time.
- Make sure you ask them if they have any worries or concerns. Allay any fears with common sense advice and ensure they know who to speak to at school if they have an issue.
- Make it sound like a new adventure! Focus on the positives. Explain how exciting school will be. For example, there will be new friends, new activities, new games and new, exciting opportunities.
- Tell your child which of their existing friends will be starting at the same school. If there aren’t any, try to reach out to another parent whose child is starting on the same day and arrange a play date for the two. Having a friendly face there from day one will really help them settle in.
- Ensure your child gets sufficient sleep in the run-up to starting school. In the one or two weeks prior to starting, it is a good idea to get them used to getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast at a particular time. Doing so will help their body clocks adapt in readiness. In the evening, of course, they should be going to bed at a sensible time so they get enough sleep. The last thing they will need is to feel unable to stay awake in their first week of school.
- Most schools have a prospectus, brochure or website. Take a look through these together. Point out interesting and exciting aspects of the new school. Find answers to any questions your child asks and be positive.
- Tell them about your first day or week at school, assuming it wasn’t awful, of course. It’s OK to mention if you were a little apprehensive, but that it all turned out well in the end and you made some excellent new friends etc.
- It’s also great if you and your child have already visited the school previously, for example during an open day or evening.
- Try to ensure that your child can take care of some of their personal needs independently. For example, in respect of the use of the toilet, hygiene, tying shoe laces, dressing and eating.
- Social skills will also help them. So, a knowledge and confidence in their own communication abilities, social skills, table manners, understanding of right and wrong and so on will stand them in good stead.
- Encourage them to have a desire to learn. So, give them an insight into all the amazing things they can discover about the world – and themselves – if they delve a little deeper and have an inquisitive nature.
Parents Themselves Must Also Be Prepared
It’s also important, of course, for parents to be prepared.
- As a parent, you’ll need to know where to go and at what time. That’s the case for both drop-off and pick-up. Ensure you know whether the first day is going to be the same as a ‘normal’ day.
- Ensure your child knows who will be collecting them and drill them about safety in this regard.
- Ask the school, well ahead of the start, what safeguarding process they have in place in regard to picking up your child at the end of the day. There may be details you need to know on arrival.
- Ensure that your child’s uniform, if applicable, and any equipment like sports kit is ready for your child to take. Does everything fit? Are clothes labelled?
- Make sure you know what equipment your child will need. Ensure he/she knows where it is e.g. in a rucksack, bag or pencil case.
- Does your child need a packed lunch and/or any snacks? You need to find out.
- Do you have all the necessary contact details of the school or staff? Do they have yours?
- Is everything prepared and ready so that your child is not late on the day? Have you timed the route at the appropriate time of day, so you know how long the journey will take? Turning up late will cause unnecessary stress, including for your child.
It almost goes without saying, of course, that enrolling your child in a nursery or pre-school setting well before they’re five will help them educationally, developmentally and in terms of preparedness for reception year.
Are you Looking for a Good Nursery in Willesden, Harlesden or Kensal Green?
Treetops is a wonderful nursery and pre-school in Willesden, conveniently close to Willesden Green, Harlesden and Kensal Green. It is one of the most popular nurseries in north west London, with high demand. For this reason, do get in touch as early as possible if you are interested in a childcare place your baby or child at the setting: