Starting ‘big’ school: A guide for parents
School allocation day is always an anxious time for parents, but during the current school closures, you might be having doubts about your choices, about what happens next or you might just want someone to speak to. Head of Early Years, Louise Laurie has some advice for preparing your child for Reception.
At St. Margaret’s, although the physical doors closed, we are still open, albeit virtually. We are very much still here for our current parents and for new families joining us in September.
Although our school buildings are not open, we are continuing with our high levels of communications with our pupils and parents.
We can still be there to help you and your child through the often-daunting process of starting ‘big’ school. We have adapted our admissions process to make sure we can still ‘meet’ and welcome you and your child.
Some tips to help prepare your child for starting school
Be positive. School life should be some of the best days of your life. Therefore, it is important to be positive about school and talk about your positive experiences. Talking about having fun, learning new things and making lots of new friends. This will strengthen your child’s confidence so they feel safe and supported, and your positive attitude towards this change will be picked up by your child.
Meeting the teacher. Before these challenging times, most schools would organise transition days, where the children can meet their new teachers and classmates. At the time of writing this, no one knows when schools will reopen. If necessary, we will likely hold video calls and virtual meet-ups, where we can play games, read stories and tell them all about the School, to help your child feel more confident about who they will meet and what to expect.
Encourage independence. Children will be asked to do many things at school for themselves, encourage your child to dress and undress independently, to feed themselves using a knife and fork, go to the lavatory independently, wash their hands and tidy away their toys, to help them feel prepared for school routines.
Read with them. There are lots of books about starting school, making friends and meeting new people, it’s a good idea to read them together. If your child is keen to learn the alphabet, please teach them the phonic sounds first as this is will help them when starting to read at school.
Writing with them. Children love to colour and draw and explore with different media. It is, therefore, important that they hold their pencil or crayon in the tripod grip, so they feel comfortable with mark making. Recognising and writing their name is helpful so they can find their peg and labelled belongings.
Counting with them. Counting in different ways such as forward and backwards to 10, counting different shapes around the garden, counting ingredients when making cupcakes and recognising some numbers to 10 would be beneficial before starting school. There are also lots of fun number games you can play with children such Snakes and ladders, Dominoes and Snap which will also help with taking turns and sharing.
We know St. Margaret’s can provide your child with the best possible start to their educational journey. We are still very much here and look forward to talking to you about your child and their needs.
Our Admissions Manager Kate Cryne, can be contacted on 07928 831 208 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss all that we have to offer and she will happily set up a virtual meeting with Louise Laurie too.
This piece was written in April 2020 during school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.