“Are you excited about starting school?” asks everyone of every 4 year old ever. But what do they say in response? And what do you say? How can you prepare them and yourself for their first day of school?!
Starting school can be a daunting process for parents and their children. We hear you! Both Brigid and I have children starting Reception this year and the change that is to come can feel rather overwhelming.
You may have visited your child’s school to meet the teacher; you may have been to an open morning where school life has been on “display” but what does this really mean? What is school like now?
Starting Reception is a big deal. Many pass it off as finger painting and dressing up but it runs so much deeper than that. It is their first leap onto the stepping-stones of full time education. And it needs to be done right. The Teachers and Teaching Assistants, who take care of your precious bundles, will spend oodles of time getting to know them and finding out what makes them tick. They will begin laying the foundations for your child’s whole outlook on education and their experience of school.
What will your child’s first day look like? There may be tears (for you both), there may be anxiety but hopefully there will be lots of excitement. Days may be shorter to begin with or there may be staggered start dates; every school is different. With any luck, you will have had chance to visit your child’s school with them, so they are familiar with the environment. Talk about their classroom and how they will have their own peg and how their work will soon be celebrated on the walls. There is so much to be excited about!
Top tip: if your child was particularly taken by something when they visited the school, remember it so you can refer to it when talking about their school and what they will see when they get there. My son took a liking to a small plastic hippo, so here’s hoping that’s out on the first day!
Your child will achieve so much in Reception and you will be astonished by how much they grow and develop. They will be taught key skills that set them up for life: reading and writing to name but two. Phonics will be a prominent part of Reception life. If you haven’t already got a catchy tune or rhyme to accompany a sound permanently stuck in your head, you soon will!
There are so many delights to look forward to as your child embarks on their school life but we understand that for those who aren’t in the profession, it can all seem a bit surreal and a step into an unknown world.
This is where we can help. Brigid and I are experienced primary school teachers and mums on a mission to inform as many parents as possible about the English primary school system, as well as make you feel more comfortable about the whole experience. We run fun and interactive Primary School Readiness Workshops that will teach you all you need to know about how to prepare for your child starting Reception.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @sweducationalconsultants for information about our workshops and #teachertuesday for weekly tips about starting school.