You might be a ‘new to school’ parent, or a parent that has already started this journey with a child or two. Starting school can be daunting and exciting. It is a new chapter in your family’s lives. Even if you have been down this road before, it is a big change for your child and family. There are nerves and so many questions to ask. We are here to share with you some of the skills that your child has, and should continue, working on to soar into Reception!
Mindset – firstly, talk school up!
Talk with your child about your positive experiences at school or that of their older siblings or cousins. Reminisce about the friendships made, the fun activities and the problems that were overcome. Talk casually with your child about their expectations around school, and how they will have many opportunities and experiences. But, be realistic. Some students have been told that they will learn how to read at school… but then they go home feeling disappointed as it didn’t happen the first day they were there!
Confidence – encourage your child to be confident in who they are and what they like.
If they are confident, they are able to ask for help and make new friends. Encourage them to develop their confidence by talking to family or friends and not have someone else speak for them. Help your child to express their feelings and validate their thoughts. Taking on jobs at home can help build their confidence in themselves and a feeling of accomplishment. Every time an adult does a job for a child, they are also sending them the message that the child can’t do it for themselves. Think about what opportunities you can give for your child to show responsibility and build confidence.
Responsibility – children need to learn to be responsible for themselves as they move into school.
Of course, the teachers are there to help them on their way, but, ultimately, we want our students to be responsible for themselves and their belongings. Being responsible for themselves is teaching children that they need to be aware of their own bodies and what they are saying. “Is it kind, is it helpful?” is a great little question to ask a child that is about to tell on another. This helps them reflect and learn to be responsible for what they are saying.
At home, we encourage parents to ensure their children pick things up and take care of their belongings. In doing this, they will have been practising a skill they need in school. Jumpers, lunchboxes, bags, instruments, notes, hats and drink bottles are all things that are on the move! They are easy to lose and misplace (and costly to replace!), so please help your child learn to look out for their belongings. Name everything and show your child where to check for their name and what their name looks like.
Connections – we are lucky to have a positive and meaningful transition from our Early Learning Centre to the Junior School.
Our students seamlessly move into their Reception program without them consciously having to make major adjustments! The visits to the Chapel with the Receptions, the library visits, teachers visiting, the play time on the playground, the special celebrations in the Junior School and incursions are all opportunities within our transition program. Our students feel like they already belong to the Junior School by the time they are formally transitioning. We wear the same uniform and many already have family in the Junior School. For most of our students, they will also have connections with their friends going through to school at the same time as they are. This can help to calm worries when they know friends will be there with them. Feeling connected is a wonderful way to start your formal schooling.
School is a big and busy place, even for the parents, but we are one community here at St John’s Grammar.
We aim to support and nurture all our students and families. Wellbeing is important and all that we do aims to ensure that your child has a sensational start to their formal schooling in the Junior School.
These are just a few points to think about and consider when getting your child ready for school and, of course, they may have been practising these skills in the ELC all year! They just have not realised yet!
Reception Teacher & Junior Primary Coordinator