A Short Guide to Starting School
By Mel Bryden (Assistant Head of Junior School, Dee Why Campus)
There are a million different checklists that aim to prepare families for the beginning of school. As such, it would be no surprise for any family to feel overwhelmed by what to (or not to) do to prepare your little ones for the start of big school journey. We hope that these simple tips might help to simplify and ease your mind about starting school.
1. Read to your child
The ritual of listening to an adult read teaches children many habits that are important for the classroom. Sitting still, active listening, interest in print and answering specific questions are but some of the important skills used when listening to an adult read. If library visits are not yet a regular part of your lives, it would be a good idea to visit the local library and let your child borrow some books for you to read to them at home. Sharing a love of quality literature is one of the best ways you can boost their success at school.
2. Build Familiarity
Ensure that your child understands how they will get to and from school. If you live close by, go for a walk together to see the school gates. If you intend to drive to school, do a few trips in the car together, look at where you might park and how your child should get out of the car safely. At St Luke’s, we expect children to be able to safely fasten their own seat belt in order to use our drop off/pick up system. It may be worthwhile taking some time to teach your child how to do this.
Assisting with labeling school uniforms and stationery and packing bags can give your child a sense of purpose and confidence in beginning their new journey. Take your child shopping for their new school shoes and allow them to wear them around the house. It’s also helpful to actively practise taking shoes on and off (velcro is advisable at this age), as well and jackets or jumpers for the cooler terms.
Make sure your child can use the toilet independently (including urinals for boys) and ensure they are in the routine of good hand washing techniques. Children should also be able to use a tissue to blow their nose without help from an adult. Lunch boxes might be a new and exciting addition to your household. If so, integrate the lunchbox into your dinner routine to give your child an opportunity to learn how to open it. We recommend the ‘bento box’ style that encourage less waste and allows a variety of different foods to be eaten at lunchtime.
4. Stay Positive
Children will take their emotional cues from you. Ensure you talk to them about the impending changes and stay positive about the transition.
We wish your little ones well as they prepare for 'big school' next year and hope that all goes well for them!