January to me always seems like the month assigned to down time. Days are long and hot, and rushing seems a thing of the past. This January, things are a little bit different in our house, as we prepare to send our Charlie off to school for the very time. In preparation I’ve sought advice from my ‘Education Expert Panel’ to understand what we need to do to our baby girl’s transition.
Here are some ways to help Kindy and Preppie kids get comfortable with their new school or childcare environment:
- Get familiar with the new environment
Take the opportunity in the holiday period to visit the school or childcare. Play in the yard, walk around the fence, talk about which way you enter the school building.
- Share social stories
There are lots of great books about school. We have been reading the classic Enid Blyton series “The Naughtiest Girl at School” which raises concepts of routine, expectations, student leaders and group contribution. We also love “Starting School” by Jane Goodwin which is a great Australian based story of the different kids that make up the class.
- Hold some play dates
If opportunity permits, meet up with some of the other families before the term starts. Organise a casual play at the park so the kids can know a few names and faces in that first period.
- Play with dice
Recognising numbers and simple cognitive processing are great (but not essential) skills to start of the year with. Playing helps foster enjoyment in learning too.
- Name recognition
Whilst many kids can already write their name before school, there is just as many who haven’t quite mastered it. Both are perfectly acceptable, stresses Literacy Executive Leader Julia Douglas. Often teachers spend much of the first year undoing the best intentions of parents who have taught their children to read and write in less than ideal ways. These include rote learning, not using phonetics and writing in capitals all which reflect dated teaching methods. Simply being able to recognise their name is perfectly acceptable for starting school.
- Label EVERYTHING!
Clothing, lunch box, water bottle, school supplies etc – Everything that goes to school!! And just in case ... familiarise yourself with the location of the school's Lost Property Box... key advice from Principal, Fiona Young. For this reason we've included a Sharpie Fabric Marker in our Survival Kits....
- Plan-out your morning routine
Being able to dress themselves is a great confidence booster and a BIG time saver in the morning scramble. List the things that your child needs to do each morning and put photos next to them. Grab the FREE Little Minx Downloadable to make your morning routine easier.
Do you need a hand getting ready, and want to avoid the craziness of a shopping centre? Pick-up your ‘Starting School’ Survival Kit here
P.S You might have heard about the Drink Bottle that cost me $750? Long story short, my daughter's drink bottle leaked in my handbag and ruined my passport. I had to get an emergency passport and lost 3 days off our family holiday to Fiji (I had to send hubby and kids without me whilst I sorted the paper work!). Ever since then I live by the rule: buy quality, buy once.