Preparing your child to start school for the first time
Each month we will aim to include a column with some handy tips or commentary.
First cab off the rank is MARGARET POLLARD, Principal of Sts Peter and Paul Primary, School Garran.
We’ve just passed November, the season for Kindergarten Orientation meetings.
Schools across Australia have been welcoming 4 and 5 year olds for their first experience of big school.
If you have a young child who is due to commence school next February you have probably been offered advice from family members, teachers, friends and work colleagues about the best way to prepare your child for their first day.
Over the coming two months, there are a few simple things that parents can do to ensure that their children are ready to begin school.
Learning is tiring, especially for a four or five year old child. Children in their first year of school require about 10 -11 hours’ of sleep per night. If you can set a regular wind-down routine, a sleep routine will be easier to establish.
Try to avoid mental stimulation immediately before bedtime so that your child’s brain has time to slow down before your child tries to go to sleep.
During January, you may find it helpful to use a calendar to ‘count down’ to the first day of school. Your child will enjoy taking responsibility for this activity.
Visiting the school during January is another way to ensure a smooth transition and a smooth start on February 4. If you know some of the other parents from your child’s class, you may be happy to arrange some play dates with some classmates.
Some schools will provide new parents with email contact details for the class (voluntary opt in). This is a practical way to connect with other families and to begin to become part of the school community.
The most important thing to do to help your child over the coming two months is to be positive when you talk with your child about school. And most importantly, keep the reading routine going every night. There is much truth in the old saying: ‘Richer than I you never can be, I had a parent who read to me’.
Your child should be able to manage most of the following activities independently:
- Reciting nursery rhymes
- Retelling a favourite storybook
- Using proper sentences
- Writing his/her name
- Counting objects up to twenty
- Drawing people with 3-4 recognisable body parts
- Taking turns
- Mixing happily with friends at preschool
- Can go to preschool without tears
- Cutting and pasting
- Focusing on an activity for at least 10 minutes
- Asking questions about the world and about words and numbers
- Caring for belongings
- Opening drink bottle and lunch box