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How can I prepare my child to start school?

Starting school is an exciting time but it can also be a little daunting, it’s a big step after all! There is lots you can do at home to help your child be prepared in the weeks and months before September, to help them to feel happy and confident when they go into school for the first time.

Here are just a few ideas to try:

One month to go

  • Sit and listen to stories.
  • Encourage them to go to the toilet independently.
  • Practise getting dressed and undressed by themselves. They will be much more confident getting ready for PE because they have had a go at home first (including turning things from inside out and putting socks or tights on).
  • Take turns and play fairly. This will help them to accept not always being the winner of a game or getting their chosen toy right away. Learning how to deal with situations like this will help them to be patient and share with their friends.
  • Help them to ask questions when they are unsure about something. Their teachers will be able to help them more effectively if they know what is the matter.
  • Encourage good manners and for them to use please and thank you.

Teaching them to recognise their own name will make finding their coat peg or tray easier. Children love to feel independent and if they can walk straight into their classroom and find their things they will feel so grown up! Practise makes perfect!

One week to go

  • Try putting on and taking off their school uniform and PE kit
  • Ask them what they are excited about and if they are worried about anything. Answer any questions they may have.
  • Look at any transition material your school has sent or look at photos on their website together.

One day to go

  • Lay out their school uniform and any bags they need, do this together.
  • Spend some time together talking about how exciting it will be and what they think they will do at school tomorrow.
  • Tell them what to expect at the end of the school day and who will be picking them up.

Starting the transition process early is key so try to attend open days at their new school and ask at nursery about any transition visits. There may be opportunities for you to meet their teachers too.

Hopefully these tips will help to prepare your little one for their next big adventure. When children are happy and content they can learn so much more effectively and get the most out of their Reception year.

Good luck in September!

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Natalie Cotton

Mum and early years teacher in the UK helping to make learning fun and creative.

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