Whether your child is starting school for the first time or returning to familiar territory, the transition to school can be emotionally challenging for everyone.
The Queensland Independent Schools (QIS) Parents Network has drawn together key advice from educators who know how to smooth out what can be a bumpy back-to-school ride – Transition to school – factsheet.
Familiarising young children with school routines and sharing your school experiences is an important part of preparing Preppies for their first day.
Equally important is maintaining open lines of communication with your child, school and teachers to ensure any challenges or issues are identified early and responded to quickly.
Learn more about how you can support your child’s learning from the QIS Parents Network resources on parent engagement in education.
Easing First Day Jitters
St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School Head of Primary Angela Drysdale understands the back-to-school challenges faced by parents and students.
Angela says preparation and communication with your child is key. She recommends 10 ways you can help prepare your child for the first day of Prep:
1. Walk or drive past the school and point out engaging features such as the playground area. If possible, point out important landmarks to your child such as the toilets and their classroom.
2. Read stories to your child about starting school such as:
• Don’t Want to Go to School by Christine Harris
• Grandma McGarvey Goes to School by Jenny Hessell
3. Discuss your own happy memories of school pointing out any fun aspects you enjoyed.
4. Ensure your child can open their lunchbox and unwrap food items. Give plenty of opportunities for your child to use their lunchbox before their first day.
5. Talk to your child about appropriate behaviour and interactions with others including sharing, listening and being quiet.
6. Have practice uniform days at home so that your child can get used to wearing their uniform and new school shoes as well as practise dressing and undressing. Many schools offer PE in Prep and students might need to change into a sports uniform or swimmers. Velcro shoes can be helpful too.
7. Label your child’s school bag with a photo tag to help them identify it and practise using their school bag. Zippers can be difficult for little fingers.
8. If you feel your child is going to be upset on the day, arrive as close as possible to the starting time. Talk to your child in the classroom and leave them with their teacher.
9. Don’t be upset if there are a few tears – this is quite natural. Children settle down quickly when their parents leave and they become involved in the activities in the classroom.
10. Ensure that your child knows exactly where you are going to meet them or their going home arrangements.