06 Dec

A new year is a fresh start – a chance to make the most of new learning opportunities, to strengthen friendships and make new friends.

The new year gives us a chance to use all the knowledge and experience we’ve gained from the previous year to support our children in their transition back to school.

Here are some ideas to help support your child get off to a good start at school:

Build confidence around skills that your child may need for school

For children starting in Reception, consider practicing getting dressed (doing up zips etc.), opening containers, lunch boxes and drink bottles and becoming independent in routines, like going to the toilet or packing a bag. Make time to do the fun things like playing on the playground.

For children returning in the Early Years from Year 1 to 3, try focusing on social skills. Play games that encourage turn taking, waiting, winning and losing. Organise a play date with school friends so children can practice play skills and help them learn to look after their belongings.

For children in the older primary years, Year 4 to 7, maybe focus more on organisation skills, social problem solving, responsible decision-making or working as part of a group or team.

Get back into routine

At least a week before school starts, begin getting back into a routine ready for school starting. This would include getting up at the time you would need to for school, as well as going to bed as you would on a school night.

Start talking about school

Start talking about going to school a week or two before school starts. The school holidays are a long time (especially for children) with lots of exciting occasions (Christmas!). Thinking about going to school may be more meaningful if it is linked in with other activities (going school shoe shopping etc.).

Be positive!

The conversations we have with or around our child help shape their thoughts and feelings about a situation. If our conversations about school are positive, then this is likely to help your child view starting school as a good thing. If your child is feeling worried or nervous, remind them that many children in their class will likely be feeling the same way. Remind them of who will be there to help them at school (their friends, their new teacher, other teachers they know etc.).

New School Starters: Preparing your child for Reception

Making the transition to primary school can be a big change – both for your child and for you! Even for children with brothers or sisters already at school, it can take time to adjust to a new routine. Transition visits during Term 4 give students an opportunity to become familiar with the Reception classrooms and to meet the wonderful team of teachers who will be guiding the students on their learning journeys. In addition to the tips above, the links below offer more information and ideas:

Australian Government – Learning Potential

Raising Children – Starting School: Preparing your Child

Raising Children – Children with ASD Starting School

Parenting SA – Starting School

Thank you Stephanie Eustice, SPW Psychologist, for sharing this Parent Resource with our community.