If you have a child starting Prep next year, be prepared for a few surprises. King’s Christian College has compiled a little ‘insider knowledge’ about some things to expect in their exciting year of Prep…
1. You will start Term 1 covering many books
… with sticky-back plastic. It’s a parent’s rite-of-passage and practice rarely makes perfect with this task. Don’t despair if your books end up covered in wrinkles and bubbles! If you don’t have the time or the patience, buy some slip-on book covers from a stationery supplier instead.
2. Your child may develop Prep amnesia
“What did you do at school today?”
– “I don’t remember.”
“What did you get that sticker for?”
– “I’ve forgotten.”
“Who did you play with at lunchtime?”
– “Um …”
Trying to get information out of your Prep student can be challenging, particularly when they are tired straight after school. You may find that your child is more forthcoming with feedback at bedtime once you’ve read them a book, they’re more relaxed and have had time to reflect.
3. Your child’s sleep patterns will change
It is completely normal for children to return from their first day of school utterly exhausted, and to be fast asleep by 6pm. This may continue well into the first term. Their little brains are working overtime so help them get all the sleep they need by being prepared with early dinners and bedtime books.
4. Your child’s appetite and eating habits will change
They’ll return from school ravenous. You may be frustrated to find half their packed lunch untouched because they were ‘too busy playing’ to eat. They might even surprise you by asking to eat carrot sticks dipped in hummus because their new friends do.
5. Those emergency undies will be used
At some point in the Prep year, your child will be grateful for the extra underwear you packed in their school bag. There will be that one day where they didn’t make it to the bathroom in time because they were too busy, or when a friend tickled them beyond their level of bladder control.
6. Young children learn in bursts and at vastly different rates
Resist the urge to compare your child’s work to their peers. Don’t panic if your child is still drawing stick figures while others appear to be recreating the Mona Lisa, and avoid taking sneaky peeks at their friends’ sight words or home reader levels. It’s not a competition. Things ‘click’ at different stages with different students. The children who can read before they start school are not necessarily the best readers by Year 3. If you have genuine concerns about your child’s progress, speak to their teacher.
7. Sharing your child’s amazing achievements on social media will not endear you to other parents
No matter how many ‘likes’ you get from the photo of your child displaying their excellent report card. Remember this can be disheartening to parents who have a child struggling with behavioural difficulties or academic challenges. Kindness is key. Save the bragging for Nana.
8. Prep is party season… but it doesn’t last
Prep birthday presents may blow your budget. Expect to buy a lot of presents… it will seem like there’s a classmate’s birthday bash every weekend. Some parents will invite the whole class to their child’s party so that nobody feels left out. By Year 1 the party invitations generally thin out – not because your child is less popular but because many children do not have birthday parties every year (or have much smaller ones).
9. Your child suddenly becomes an ‘expert’ know-it-all
“That’s not what my teacher says.”
“Yeah, I already know that. Miss Hopkins told me.”
“You’re not supposed to do it like that. This is how we do it at school…”
There was a time when your child looked to you as their fount of knowledge and wisdom … brace yourself!
10. You will be amazed at the change in your child at the end of their Prep year
The first year of school is one of the most dramatic in terms of your child’s progress. By the time they finish Prep, they will generally be much more independent, better conversationalists and have a wealth of new skills.