Starting school is a big step for any child. It can be both challenging and exciting for both the parent and child. The support you give your child is important at this time as you are your child’s first and most important teacher. Whether you’re a parent whose child is about to start school, or a childcare professional supporting a family to take this next big step, here’s what you should know.

Preparation

Don’t worry- your child won’t need to be able to read, write or do sums before they start school. They will progress and develop those skills with the help of their teacher. What is important however, is that you are open with your child about attending school. Here are ways to do this:

  • Ask your child what they think about going to school, and encourage them to ask questions about going to school.
  • Talk about school as a positive thing- talk to friends and family about what school is like.
  • Show your child where the school is and talk about how you will get there.
  • Practice the things your child will need to do to get ready for school – shop for their uniform and enjoy your child’s excitement whilst doing this together.
  • Enjoy the summer holiday prior – share stories, sing songs, play games and talk about anything and everything.

The First Day

It’s finally the big day! Make sure you child knows who will take them to school and show them where they will be picking them up on the first day; you will need to make this top priority. Other things you will need to make sure of are:

  • Helping your child to organise their clothes, hat, shoes and socks the night before.
  • In the morning, help your child to pack their school bag with a snack, drink, lunch and a hat.
  • If you feel it necessary, place a spare pair of clothes and underpants in a plastic bag. Let your child know that these are for any accidents at school.
  • If it is predicted to be sunny, put sunscreen on your child that morning.
  • Finally, at the end of the day, talk to your child about what happened at school.

Starting

Many children settle into school life easily, whereas others take longer. If your child seems tearful and clingy for the first few days- this is normal. Although you might feel terrible leaving them, they will most likely be playing quite happily within a few minutes. If your child seems exhausted at the end of the day, let them have some quiet time or even a nap if you feel it necessary. If they’re hungry, a healthy snack and drink can help to restore their energy levels.

Like us starting a new job, a child will need to get used to school life and will likely need time to recharge, so it’s a good idea to keep the first few weekends quiet as well as waiting a while before introducing any after-school activities.

Lastly, keep talking to your child about their feelings about school. Some children are enthusiastic at first but when it becomes routine, they may become reluctant to go. Sit your child down and take some time to explain the concept of weekends and holidays. You may want to arrange a few treats for them to look forward to as well.

The First Year

The first year will really be about making sure your child settles into the routine of going to school each week. To help with this, find out about what your child is learning at school. By doing this, you can help support your child’s learning and find out how your child is adjusting to school. If it turns out your child is having difficulty at school, talk to their teacher. They will be able to suggest what may be the problem and find a solution. Consistently chat to them about school, ask them about their new experiences; what they like and dislike. To help them develop lifelong friendships, organise time for your child and their new friends to play together outside of school hours.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in early year’s education, we can help you. Virtually all jobs in working with children require appropriate training and qualifications. We can provide you with advice and training, whether you want to start working with them or develop in your current role. We also deliver an introductory course in Forest Schools; great for making the most of your outdoor provision.

For more information, you can get in touch with us via our contact page or by giving us a call on 0300 300 8131. Alternatively, you can view our current vacancies here.