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  • College News

    Preparing for School

    Written by Belinda Raine, Kindergarten Director

    Starting ‘big school’ is a big deal for many four and five-year-olds anticipating their first day after the summer holidays. There’s a lot that parents can do now to smooth the path for their children (and for themselves). These early years are important for cognitive, social and physical development. When children feel safe and optimistic about starting school, they will find it easier to make friends and engage in learning. We have listed below some of the ways we are preparing your children for school and you can also continue this at home. 

    Talk about school

    • Spend time together playing and chatting about school in a casual way to help your child feel secure.
    • Talk about your own experiences at school – highlighting the positive memories and experiences.
    • Be positive and show you have confidence in your child’s ability to manage the new environment.
    • Read stories about going to school and first days at school and ask your child what they think might happen at school.

    Practise the new routines 

    Prep is very different from Kindergarten. Class and formal learning start when the bell goes in the morning so being ready for school early and arriving on time is really important for their learning, but also for their emotional security, it is difficult for anyone to move into a room where a lesson has begun. 

    Practise getting ready in the morning – getting up early, getting dressed, and the journey to school. 

    Encourage your child to wear their new uniform in non-school time and become comfortable with it. Our Kindy children are already wearing the Collge Uniform to aid in this process!.

    Have regular reasonable bedtimes and routines during the week. 

    Orientation to school

    If your child is going to a different school, it is important for you to consider the following: – 

    • Visit the new school 
    • Help your child to know where the school is in relation to your home. Drive past a few times; if possible, walk from home to school. Walk around the school and point out things like the classroom, the girls’ and boys’ toilets, the play areas, the canteen, office, etc. 
    • Show your child where you will drop them off and where to wait at the end of the day (we have done this for FCC children). 
    • If you get the opportunity, try out the toilets. Ensuring boys can use a urinal in the boys’ toilets can be an important aspect of feeling confident. 
    • Explain some of the rules – like putting your hand up to speak – and practise how to raise your hand to ask any question (including if they need to go to the toilet). 
    • Talk about the bell/whistle/ siren at school and what it means. 
    • If your child is anxious, ask them what would help them feel better – e.g. who would they prefer to drop them off and pick them up, where would they like to say their good-bye in the morning, what would they like to do after school. 

    Practise making friends and building social skills 

    Your children have had plenty of practice with their social skills in our kindergarten environment, but the school playground is supervised dramatically less than in our Kindergarten and children need to learn to problem-solve for themselves. 

    Encourage participation in group games, support cooperative play and friendship building (playing games at home with parents can help teach skills in winning and losing). 

    Teach your child introduction techniques so they are able to approach other people and confidently make friends. 

    Build relationships – meeting some children and parents is a great idea; make a date to meet at the park with some of the other new families / help your child build friendships with other new school kids in the neighbourhood by inviting them over to play. 

    Give the child practise at becoming more independent and   doing a few things for others 

    Once at school 

    On the first day (and forever after!) – be on time. This is important for children to help settle into class and not disrupt others or themselves. The start of each day is the most important in the classroom. Ensure you have routines organised for in the morning.

    It is very important to be on time to collect your child or look into whether your school has ‘Before or After School Care’ arrangements. 

    As much as you can, get involved in the school – join a committee or association, help out every now and then / spend time in the classroom or perhaps help in the school canteen. Children love having their parents attend and help out from time to time in these early years. 

    Children are often tired at the end of the day so, for example, think about a short visit to the park after school rather than a long visit with friends. It is wise not to plan too much after school in the first term of the year. 

    Most importantly, enjoy and delight in this stage of your child’s life. Share their stories and if you have any concerns, make a time to go along and talk with the teacher. 

    Learn new practical skills 

    Give your child practise at dressing themselves in their uniform. Try to ensure your child will wear clothing they can manage / help them develop skills to use zippers / Velcro / shoelaces or buckles / tie on their hat / go to the toilet / take their jumper on or off. 

    Let them pack their own bag (don’t buy a bag that’s too big!) and practise opening and closing their school bag. 

    Give them practise with their lunch box, drink bottle and food wrappings – e.g., have some ‘lunch box’ days.