Sometimes it seems as though you only just made the announcement that you were expecting a bundle of joy then lo and behold you are thinking about your little one entering ‘big school’. And with that comes all the fears and trepidation, and that’s just the Mums and Dads.
It can be hard to decide if your preschooler is ready for big school but once that decision is made there are a few small things that can be done to make the transition just that little bit easier for everyone. And that is very important especially when you are four or five.
School is different to preschool. There are uniforms to be worn, rules to be followed and not as much ‘free play’ time. And you have to go back, day after day, after day.
There are also usually lots more kids of all ages and lots of different teachers and adults around and it can all get very confusing. One of the best ways to help alleviate these fears is to do a little bit of preparation for your child.
Improve your child’s independence
You should encourage your child to be independent by helping them practice:
- Packing and carrying their own school bag
- Putting on their shoes
- Eating and drinking without help (including actually being able to open their lunchbox!)
- Going to the toilet on their own (and washing hands)
- Using tissues correctly (and washing hands)
Daily routines to get ready for starting school
To help prepare your child for school, have them involved in a routine which includes:
- Going to bed early
- Waking at a certain time
- A healthy breakfast
- Preparing and eating lunch
- Physical activities
It is really important your child knows what is in their lunchbox and when to eat it:
- Provide healthy and filling foods and drinks in REALISTIC quantities for morning tea and lunch (please don’t overdo the quantities!)
- Make sure they can easily open wrapped items and lunch boxes]
- Provide a variety of smaller items instead of one or two large items
- Provide a bottle of water every day
Know your school
It is important for your child to get to know the school environment and many schools these days have ‘open days’ and also orientation days where the children can come in for a few hours at a time to get used to things, however it is also important to:
- Drive or walk past and around the school, especially during school hours (just advise staff if you are going on to school premises during school time)
- Find out the equipment your child will need and ensure all items are labelled including library bag, lunch box, pencils, all uniform items including hats.
Fun activities at home to prepare for starting school
You can also help with a smooth transition by doing some fun family activities at home including:
- Reading aloud and writing letters (they don’t have to be perfect!)
- Learning to recognise your child’s name in writing
- Play games including board and card games
- Singing songs and nursery rhymes
- Stimulate their imagination through visits to parks, airport, zoo as an example
With a small amount of preparation, and lots of encouragement, your preschooler will find the step up to ‘big school’ just that little bit easier. For further information, check out www.transitiontoschoolresource.org.au