Prepare Your Child to Start Reception
Children begin school in September already having had a massive range of experiences – playgroups, nurseries, child minders, staying at home or a combination of all these. Even if your child has been to a full time Nursery the step up to full days in Reception can feel like a challenge for you both.
To help calm any anxieties we have put together some advice. This should help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Transitioning to Reception
Most schools organise days in the Summer term for the children to meet their new teachers. It allows them to spend time in their new learning environment. This is a good opportunity for your child to find out where the toilets/playground/coat pegs are. You can also meet all the adults who are going to be in the classes. There will always be questions which parents want to ask the teachers once the new term has begun. The staff there will be happy to answer them as they arise.
Rehearse the school routine
Over the summer holidays it can become easy to get out of the habit of getting up early enough to be ready for the school day. Also if your child has only been attending afternoon nursery sessions it is worth having a few practise days. Help them to get up, washed, dressed, eat breakfast and then take the actual journey to get to school to arrive in time.
If you have more than 1 child, please take a few moments to work out the dropping off/picking up order. It can be very stressful for children to be the last one to be picked up. If you know you are running late for a particular reason it is helpful to ring the school and let them know. The staff can then explain the reason to your child and allay their fears.
Encourage life skills
Children will be asked to do a lot of things independently which you may have been doing for them at home. Encouraging your child to dress and undress for themselves will help when they are changing for PE. Showing your child how to fold their clothes and keep them together will save hours looking for misplaced school jumpers. Make sure their clothes have simple fastenings which they can use confidently.
Encourage your child to put things away. They’ll be expected at school to put their pencils in a pot, put books back on the shelf, collect pieces of lego up and to know where their PE kit is. Every little bit of independence helps.
Lunches can be busy times and if your child is confident at using a knife and fork this will help them eat much more quickly. However, midday supervisors are there to help if anyone needs assistance cutting up food.
If your child prefers to bring their own cold lunches make sure they are able to open their boxes and drinks for themselves and that they know to eat the savoury pieces first. Have some practices at home before the new term starts.
Label their clothes
Label your child’s clothes and show your child where you’ve put their name, so they can check it themselves. There are special labels which you can buy but a pen is just as easy. Make sure you keep checking that the name hasn’t washed off after a while though. It is also a useful habit to check that your child has come home with their correct jumper on too!
School toilets and personal hygiene
It can be common for children to wet themselves at school, especially in the first few terms. Remind your child to ask to go to the toilet rather than wait until it’s too late. Make sure your child knows how to pull up their pants and wipe themselves properly. Teach them how to flush the chain and wash their hands, so they don’t pass on those awful tummy bugs that can take out whole families and classes.
And finally…. Be Positive!!
Your child will be experiencing a whole range of emotions as you build up towards starting school. You can help make this a positive experience. I’m sure you will have just as many emotions and panics about leaving your child but it really isn’t helpful to pass these on – your child does not need to be reminded how much you are going to miss them. Keep those first day tears in check and only cry buckets once home!!