When children begin attending school, they will have to do things for themselves. They will need to be independent and develop the necessary skills to help them cope with the challenges they will face throughout their day in school. Skills such as dressing themselves in the morning, making sure they have all of their belongings, eating with a knife and fork, and using the bathroom independently, are really important for a child to have developed before they begin school. You can check out our full school readiness checklist here. The more independent they are, the easier it will be for them to settle in so it is important to consistently encourage them to do things independently in the built-up to beginning school.
A great way of preparing children for beginning school is by role-playing with them. You could play the teacher and they can play themselves as the student. You can use toys, games, and books to act out what it will be like inside a classroom. This will make them more familiar with what they can expect once they begin school.
Similar to role play, reading children storybooks about going to school can set the scene for them and help them relate and comprehend what their new environment will be like.
Doing a trial run of the first day including getting up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, etc. can be a great way to familiarise children with what their new routine will look like and prepare them for what is going to be expected from them.
Talk to them about what is going to happen and allow them to talk about any concerns they may have. Listen to these concerns and if necessary, share them with other relevant people. Help them overcome these worries by reassuring them and answering any questions they may have.
It can really increase children’s confidence if they visit the school. This will familiarise them with the new environment. This is a great time for them to ask any questions; try to maintain an excited, positive atmosphere throughout the visit.
As with the open day, throughout the transition from early year’s settings to school, it is important to keep things positive. Focus on this change as a good thing, not a daunting thing. Try to make it an enjoyable, fun experience.
Remember to not worry if your child is struggling with the transition, this is completely normal. As time passes, it will get easier as they settle into their new environment.