Your child starting school is a big change in your family life, and they might feel both excited and nervous about it. They might be worried about making friends, the change of routine, and tackling schoolwork, and you may feel anxious for them about the same things. It’s a major transition, especially for children who haven’t attended nursery or preschool. To help prepare you, here’s some information from a prep school in Hampstead on what to expect when your child starts school.
Many schools provide new pupils with a settling in period to make the transition less daunting and ease them into school life gradually. Your child might only attend for half days initially, or the class might be split into groups attending on different days. You’ll probably be allowed to accompany your child into the classroom during the first few weeks to help them get settled; it’s a good idea to use this time to encourage some independence, such as prompting your child to find the correct place for their lunchbox and backpack to go. This will make it easier when the time comes to leave them at the classroom door.
It’s important to try to get into a routine as quickly as possible so your child feels secure and knows what to expect each day. Stick to set bedtimes and waking up times, and prompt them to get ready for school in a particular order so everything becomes a habit. This will provide a level of certainty when they might be feeling a little unsure about all the new things they’re experiencing.
You’ll probably be eager to hear all about your child’s first few days at school, but you might find that they’re not very communicative. The first weeks at school can be very tiring for young children not used to the routine, so they might just want to relax and switch off when they get home, rather than have a lengthy discussion about what they got up to. In this case, it might be best to ask questions later on in the evening or at the weekends when they’re feeling more energised.
The academic side of starting school might be a bit of a challenge for your child, although in reception year teachers will focus on helping children learn the foundations for their future learning. They probably won’t get much homework during their first year, although you may be asked to support them with learning phonics and decoding words to help them learn to read.
Just take things slowly, and allow your child to get used to school at their own pace.