Abigail Fishbourne has over 27 years of experience in education. She has taught in various schools in the UK and UAE and is currently the School Improvement Partner at International Schools Partnership – Middle East. Here, she provides parents with a few tips on preparing their children for that first, all-important day at school.
Starting school is both an exciting and daunting time for many families. For many children, it is the first time they have been cared for by people other than family members; for some, it is their first step of independence, and for others, it is a step from the small preschool groups of nurseries into the big world of school.
For many children, it is the first time they have been cared for by people other than family members
Over the years, many families have asked me what they should do to prepare their children for their first day at school. Of course, many have expected me to answer with a list of educational objectives or memorised facts, e.g. teach them the alphabet and how to write their name or count to 10, but this couldn’t be further from my response.
So, what can you do to prepare your child for these first days?
- Take every opportunity to talk about school with positivity – visit the school gates and talk about how exciting it will be to put on the school uniform and step through them when school starts.
- You may want to build up the excitement with a countdown of the number of sleeps until school starts.
- Talk about the new friends they will meet, the exciting activities they will participate in, and the kind teachers who are waiting to meet them.
- If you have some lovely memories about your school days, share these with them.
- There are some great books about starting school that you could share together.
- If they voice that they will miss you or be upset when you go, acknowledge this. Let them know that you will also miss them, but at the end of the day, you will be there to hear about the wonderful and exciting day they have had.