Starting school for the first time ever can be exciting and simultaneously nerve-wracking! Luckily, at Mulberry House, we have a unique, child-centered approach to settling-in that ensures this process is both fun and enjoyable. Today we will be walking you through some important tips/tricks that will help your child adjust to school life. They are grouped into three parts below.
Part 1: Creating a positive image of school life
This happens before the child arrives at school. The aim of this is to help your child get excited for school. First, share a story or youtube video about starting school. We recommend “the Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn or “My First Day at Nursery School” by Becky Edwards. Secondly, talk to your child about all the fun activities that they will be experiencing at school, such as the toys they might play with, the friends they will make, and the activities they will do. Lastly, let your child try on the uniform at home and get them excited about going to school. This is an easy way to show them their new morning routine.
Part 2: Working on initial separation nerves
This part occurs when your child is at school. If your child is really missing you and feeling the nerves of attending a school they’ve never been to before, let them bring a photograph of you or their favorite toy so they can hold onto it throughout the day. Doing so will help them feel more connected to home even whilst they’re in a new environment. To facilitate the process, we suggest giving your child a quick goodbye, hug or kiss as this results in a shorter period of stress for your child. Our teachers are experienced and will be here to comfort your child and care for them as the school day continues. We would also suggest giving your child a time when you will return to pick them up. We always recommend telling your child, “I will pick you up after the Goodbye Song.” This serves as a signal that it is time to go home and return to you.
Part 3: Continued support throughout the year
As your child gradually settles into their new routine, we now shift toward adapting to the learning side of school. The best learning has little to do with textbooks and more to do with being curious about the world around them. We recommend that parents share bedtime stories with children and also encourage children to draw at home. Talking to them in any language about what they have created will help to develop their literacy. Meanwhile, looking at photo albums together will help them remember fond memories of classmates and associate school with being a positive experience. You may also wish to organize play dates with other parents later in the school term, so that children may develop social skills and form important friendships for their school life.
For a more detailed account of these, watch our pre-nursery teacher Miss Sierra discuss below:
*Here at MHKG, our approach offers a staggered entry process for transitions. On the 1st day of pre-nursery class, children are only at school for 1 hour so they can get a feel of the new environment. On the 2nd day, children stay for 2 hours and are able to have support people in the room for them. We recommend that this person is someone who the child feels comfortable around but is also easily able to say goodbye to. On the 3rd day, children stay for 3 hours, and the support person is slowly moved out of the classroom when the child has connected with their teacher.