September is now just around the corner and for some that means starting School for the first time.
You may have read our previous blog post on ways to help prepare your child for primary school– with areas you may choose to focus on with your child (if they are ready) like learning to use a knife and fork and play independently.
But how can you try to make sure your child’s first week at school goes well? What can you do as a parent during that week to help it go as smoothly as possible?
We asked reception teachers from Mainstream and Special Schools exactly that. We’ve compiled their advice of the best ways to ensure the first week of school runs smoothly:
Preparing Your Child Before Hand
- Send in spares clothes. Nobody is going to blame your child for being so interested in something that they forgot the signals from their body, but you can make it easier.
- Make sure your child’s name is labelled in everything they bring!
- Talk to them before about who will be in their class. Show them pictures of their teacher if possible
- Work on personal independence at home, by letting them have a go at doing things for themselves. (If they are able) don’t dress and undress your child at home even if it is quicker. Encourage and support them but allow time for them to do it themselves. We can’t dress/change 30 children for PE.
- Introduce them to cutlery at home and let them feed themselves. Let them have a go at cutting food up. We’ll always help them cut the trickier things but again we can’t feed 30 children.
On the Morning of their first day
- Up your acting skills- Even if you’re feeling emotional that your ‘baby’ is now old enough to go to school- don’t let them know. Don’t cry in front of them. Put on a smile and tell them they will have an amazing day.
- Try and let them be as independent as possible- carry their own bags, enter the class alone, put their lunchboxes and book bags away on their own- if they get upset try (I know how hard it can be) to let class staff deal with it. Remember we want to work with you.
When Collecting Your Little One
- Expect your child to be tired when they come home – It helps to make home life lighter as they adjust.
- To find out how their day was when you collect them remember that “What did you do in school today?” is too wide. Try “What sounds did you talk about?” “What made you smile today?” that kind of thing. (seriously, as a teacher, we Never do “Nothing.”!)
Communicating with Staff
The main theme that arose when we asked teachers their advice was communication. In particular to ensure parents use the home school diary (or other chosen communication method by their school) to keep teachers informed so they can understand your child better. Here’s what they said:
- Believe the staff when they tell you your child settled fine! And do communicate with staff via the home-school book or whatever method is used. We DO want to know if your little one slept for 2 hours last night as it explains to us why they have fallen asleep this afternoon. We won’t judge, it’s not your fault!.
- Write in the home school diary daily- only quick details of how child slept, what they’ve eaten and any meltdowns- use this rather than talking to the teacher about them when they’re there.
- Tell staff if anything has happened at home, if child is upset.
- As an SEN teacher, please use the home school book. Knowing they need a poo, have not slept or the fact that routine at home is different at the moment helps us help the child. Please send lots of spare clothing and pads ( if needed) in advance.
Do you feel ready for your child starting School? What are your main concerns?