Tips For Preparing For Primary School

Friday, 10 June 2016

This time last year my boy was 3 years old and was about to start primary school in September 2015. I remember a month before school and still 3 years old we took him to Marks and Spencer's to get his uniform. His dad waited outside the ladies changing room and I got him dressed in his school shirt and trousers. When he marched out to show his dad, his trousers were falling down due to his baby waist and his little body looked too fragile for a proper stiff school shirt. I burst into tears saying to my husband "This is not right. He's too young for this".
I remember the first day of school, still looking like a baby we took pictures of him outside our house, we went to school and every parent was inside the classroom taking 10 minutes to leave their child. Some kids were crying hysterically, some kids looked so frightened and fragile as if they would fall to the ground if you blew on them. Others looked confident that they were reunited with their nursery friends they had made the year before.

It's been an interesting and wonderful journey.  My son has developed so much during this academic year. I have developed in getting used to the fact that my baby is in the school 'system' - which is actually ok.

Having nearly completed our first year of school, here is a list of practical tasks you can help your child learn so they survive and thrive in their first year of big school.  

  • Help your child learn to dress themselves.  Teach them to undo and do up their buttons, pick up their clothes and put them on and also learn to put them down in a safe place. This is needed for PE. I struggled with this because it was easier and quicker to get my son dressed in the mornings than teach him these useful skills.
  • Teach your child to wipe their bottom.  Also, how to wipe their bottom with dry toilet tissue because there is no moist toilet wipes in big school.
  • Help your child hold a pencil correctly, also help them use sharp ish scissors and handle it safely.
  • Start to work on phonics. Alpha blocks on CBeebies is good, also Jolly phonics on YouTube.
  • Help your child to sit down and engage in an activity for 10-15 minutes
  • Interact with your kids, talk to them loads, read lots of books
  • Get them to respond to orders such as sitting quietly to engage, washing hands, hanging their coat up, taking their shoes off and tidying up.
  • Teach your child to be aware of cars on the road, learn to walk close to you and stop at the road crossing.
  • If you plan on walking to school, walk locally to the shops, the park or visiting friends etc rather than using the car.  This is to simply get their leg muscles used to walking longer than 5 minutes on the road.
  • Get your child in some type of activity class where they will interact with other children and learn to take direction from another adult and be a member of a large group of children. This will help them understand that they are not the most important child there.  Every child is important. In group activities your child will need to share. They will also learn that other children may have a successful moment which may be celebrated by all.
  • Put your child in situations that will allow them to play with other children rather than mostly adults such as parents, grandparents and other family members who simply adore them.
  • When playing a game with your child, don't let them always win. This will help them understand that they will not always get their own way.
  • Get your child to try a wide variety of foods so they are open to eating school dinners.
  • Talk to your child and build a relationship with them where they can tell you how they feel about things and situations that may occur with others.
  • Teach your child to share their toys or allow other children to take part in an activity they are involved in.
I state these tasks not because my child has achieved them but to help you be aware of what your child will encounter in their first year and what you can do NOW to help them overcome their challenges.

May you and your baby/babies have a wonderful school year ahead.

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