Did you have a first time school starter?
How did it go?
You have got through the first few days of school. Things are probably still a bit “wobbly.” It will take time to help your child is settle in. At this point some children are just realising “Yes. This happening every day now.” Many children get really tired when they are trying to be so focussed all day. We thought it might be helpful to create a summary of some of the ideas that we have gathered from families and schools to help support the settling in. Parents are always looking out for information about how to support their child’s first year at school. Schools have identified that the key to a child having as successful a start as possible is – their independence. Here are ways to keep supporting your child to mature in their independence. Keep an eye out for how they are managing. Look for points where they might be experiencing challenges e.g. Is lunch coming home uneaten? Are notes not making it home? Targeting these might make all the difference to maintaining a settled child at school.
If we can take away the stresses of settling then children can just focus on learning and the school routines. Help your child to think of activities as routines. Talk through things like managing belongings such as their hat as a routine. “When I come back from lunch I put my hat….?” Carrying their own bag, “When I get out of the car I put my bag on my back before I walk up to the gate”. Routines are involved in so many things e.g. using the bathroom, eating their lunch, opening their lunch box and drink bottle.
This is a brilliant video that helps you talk about what Kindergarten is like. Play it and talk about all the things that are happening at school for your child. This discussion will help parents know a bit more too about the world of school and what the words used by school mean! E.g. “what’s a COLA?” = a Covered Outdoor Learning Area. Why not show it to grandparents to share with your child?
First Day by Andrew Daddo
Have you seen this great book for any child starting school for the first time. EarlyEd uses it as part of our Transition to School Program in Term 4 each year. You can use this book in several ways not only because it is a delight to read. It can be a social story as it is all about getting ready and steps out what you do each day. Use it now as an opportunity to talk about the way you do things and your child is feeling about the experience. It is a great way to trigger a conversation about school with other people e.g. grandparents. Sometimes children find it hard to recall what happened or put it into words and you get limited responses like this. ‘So what did you do at school today?’ ‘Played’. Using a book like this can prompt them about what they did. When asking questions ask your child about a certain part of their day rather than ‘How was your day?’ For example ‘Who did you sit with for lunch?’, ‘What was the book about that the teacher read today?’, or ‘What was your favourite part of the day?’ Another great read about starting school is ‘Little Nic’s Big Day’.
Getting used to School uniforms
Summer uniforms are easier to manage than winter so now is a good time to help children be independent about their belongings.
Have they come home covered in paint and dirt? Keeping clean might be a something children might need to actually learn. How do you manage when you make the inevitable mess when painting? Talk about how tricky it is and what solutions might be (instead of wiping down the side of your uniform!) How do you manage opening the yoghurt on your own? Maybe you need to practice more at home! “School uniforms. “Yes, you do have to wear them every day.” Wearing a school uniform every day is a big change for children. They now can’t choose what they like to wear. They can also be clothes children aren’t used to wearing e.g. shirts with buttons. Children may need to get used to moving around in them. They will feel different. They may feel stiffer, more restrictive and longer.
Create a schedule of the week for your child
Create a schedule of the days of the week to help children know what days of the week are school days and what type of clothes are required e.g. sports uniform. This is the way they can start to be independent at remembering and develop a good sense of time. Perhaps take a photo of your child or their clothes and stick them next to the day of the week in a table on your notice board. (You could add in later what they need on days for library, homework etc.) (Don’t forget to print the words next to the picture as this is the way a child can learn some new meaningful words to read!)
If you have concerned about how your child is managing, or if things stay “wobbly for a while” ask for advice. You can
- talk to your child’s school
- call us at EarlyEd for support and
- look at these helpful websites.
This project is funded through Start Strong, Department of Education, NSW.