Starting primary school can be an exciting and emotional time for both you and your child. Where kindergarten took them away from home for just a few hours a week, your child is now entering a new world where they will spend a much larger chunk of their time. This makes it vital that they start well and look forward to going to school every day. Building a positive relationship with school will yield greater success in everything from academic performance to emotional intelligence, now and in the future.
Pick-up and drop-off
School is a big change for children, so it can be helpful to establish a routine before they start. Practise getting up and getting to school on time, take a walk around the grounds, show them the classrooms and different parts of the school so it isn’t as daunting on their first day.
Do your best to be on time and ensure your child knows where you will meet them. You will usually need to sign your child in if they’re late for school.
Your child will meet a lot of new children in their first few days, so it’s important to talk to them about what being friends means
You will need to help them foster their friendships through after-school and weekend playdates.
It’s important to make sure you and your child’s teacher are both pulling in the same direction and work as a team. Young children can be easily confused when adults give them different instructions and can become discouraged.
Talk to their teacher and ask advice on:
- supporting their schoolwork
- improving their reading
- their strengths and weaknesses
- how well they socialise with other children.
Be sure to also raise any concerns from the child’s home life that could impact their schooling.
How to help reinforce your child’s learning
Showing interested is the first and most important step to staying engaged with your child’s education. Here are some other ways you can help reinforce their learning in the first few years of schooling:
- Be available to assist them with their homework.
- Read to them at bedtime.
- Make sure they get enough sleep.
- Instead of asking “How was your day?” ask them “What about school was fun today?” This will help your child focus on what they like about school.
Food and medication
Eating at school is a different experience than at home. If your child has an allergy, it’s important to prepare your child to manage it at school and to ensure their teacher is informed.
Even if your child doesn’t have an allergy, it is important to know how the school deals with food. Many schools have blanket policies around what food kids can have in their lunchboxes; for example, peanut butter sandwiches may be banned if there are students at the school with severe peanut allergies.