The first day of school can be an emotional time for both children and parents, however St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School Head of Primary Angela Drysdale says preparation and communication with your child can help make the transition easier for families.
“Talk to your child frequently about attending Prep, including all the different aspects they are likely to experience at their new school.
“Take into consideration school readiness is not just about whether your child can write their name or count to ten, but about ensuring they’re equipped with a much broader range of foundational skills that will set them up for the best start,” said Angela.
Angela’s ten ways for parents to prepare their child for the first day of Prep are:
1. Walk or drive past the school and point out engaging features such as the playground area. If possible, point out important landmarks to your child such as the toilets and their classroom.
2. Read stories to your child about starting school such as:
3. Discuss your own happy memories of school pointing out any fun aspects you enjoyed.
4. Ensure your child can open their lunchbox and unwrap food items. Give plenty of opportunities for your child to use their lunchbox before their first day.
5. Talk to your child about appropriate behaviour and interactions with others including sharing, listening and being quiet.
6. Have practice uniform days at home so that your child can get used to wearing their uniform and new school shoes as well as practise dressing and undressing. Many schools offer PE in Prep and students might need to change into a sports uniform or swimmers. Velcro shoes can be helpful too.
7. Label your child’s school bag with a photo tag to help them identify it and practise using their school bag. Zippers can be difficult for little fingers.
8. If you feel your child is going to be upset on the day, arrive as close as possible to the starting time. Talk to your child in the classroom and leave them with their teacher.
9. Don’t be upset if there are a few tears – this is quite natural. Children settle down quickly when their parents leave and they become involved in the activities in the classroom.
10. Ensure that your child knows exactly where you are going to meet them or their going home arrangements.