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Supporting Your Child’s Transition to School: A Parent’s Reflection

Supporting Your Child's Transition to School: A Parent's Reflection

December 14, 2023

Article Written By:
Jessica Kingi
Marketing Executive
Former Early Childhood Educator and a mum to 2 beautiful and very active boys. Joining Kids Club 2 years ago, starting as one of our Senior Service Administrators, Jessica now supports all of our centres as the Marketing Executive of Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres.

Miss Jessica
Supporting Your Child's Transition to School - Kaiden on his Graduation Day with his little brother, Zade.

As we approach the end of the year, many preschool rooms begin gearing up for school readiness week, a crucial time in a child’s development when they prepare for the educational transition to primary school.   

During this period, children are introduced to formalities such as wearing a school uniform and navigating the lunchbox routine, elements not commonly seen in the preschool classroom and new to the child and their parent or carer.  

While your child’s Educator has likely assured you of their social, emotional, and physical readiness for school, as a first-time parent, you may want additional support as you venture into this unknown territory.  

Here, I share my recent experience of sending my son to school, highlighting the many things that helped Kaiden and myself successfully navigate the journey from preschool to Kindergarten. 

 

Essential Skills for Primary School Transition

A child’s first toe-dip into formal education is both exciting and scary for the child and the parent or carer! There are several practical steps to take in preparing your child to manage their initial days in primary school, helping them organise themselves and their possessions independently.   

  • Lunchbox Mastery: Ensure your child is confident in opening and securing their lunchbox, taking note of its features such as zips or clips. Familiarise them with the contents, considering the skills required for opening items like muffins, muesli bars, and rice crackers. 
  • Morning School Rush: Pre-cut fruits, pack snacks, and organise the school bag the night before. This includes preparing for specific school activities, like library day. If your child wants to take a tennis ball or soccer ball to school to play with during recess or lunch, ensure this is located close by. 

  • Water Bottle Independence: Practice opening and closing a water bottle lid, turning it into a fun activity at home while being prepared for a little mess until their confidence builds. This ensures they can refill their bottle independently. They will also have access to bubblers or drinking fountains throughout the school grounds, so discussions about this can also helpful.

  • Shoes, Socks, and Uniform Features: Foster independence by ensuring your child can put on their own shoes and socks. Practice zipping and buttoning their uniform, including jackets, skirts, or pants. 

  • Responsibility for Possessions: Label all items sent to school with your child’s full name, instilling a sense of responsibility. Create designated pockets in their school bag for items like hats and encourage your child to manage their belongings. 
  • Bathroom Independence: Familiarise your child with various locks, crucial for primary school bathrooms where doors are lockable. Practice these skills at home to ensure they feel confident and can manage toileting independently. If you have a boy, also prepare them for the use of urinals. 

Routines and Connections

While a new routine eventually becomes the norm, it can take time to sink in and especially so when it involves a young child. Talking about routine helps children know what to expect, adapting quicker to the changes.  

  • Morning and After School Routines: Discuss daily routines with your child, including before and after school care, bus rides, or drop-offs. Effective routines provide predictability, helping children feel safe and supported. 
  • Community Connection: Other parents are your new best friends! Use social media, like Facebook, to connect with others from your child’s school. You may find a community page exists for your child’s school or year group, which can prove useful for building a supportive network, arranging playdates, or simply sharing information and tips about managing primary school life. 

Familiarising with the School

Any new place can feel daunting to begin with. Becoming familiar with ’big school’ before day one helps take some of the anxiety out of the occasion, instilling confidence into your child that will be helpful beyond the gates.  

  • Early Enrolment: Enrol your child early to take advantage of orientation days, allowing them to become familiar with their new environment, classrooms, and facilities. One or two visits before they begin school full-time can make all the difference to settling in quickly. 
  • Exploring the Surroundings: Drive past your child’s new school before they start, explaining key features like pedestrian crossings and front and back entrances. Your school may also have a School Crossing Supervisor who assists the community in crossing the road safely. Discuss road safety and familiarise your child with the school’s surroundings, including nearby parks, streets and safe passages to cross the road. 
Supporting Your Child's Transition to School - Kaiden on his first day of school
Supporting Your Child's Transition to School - Kaiden with his mum and dad
Supporting Your Child's Transition to School - Kaiden in his sports uniform

A Final Word

The first few weeks of primary school can be significant in various aspects – not only in tackling the learning transition but socially, mentally and physically. It’s crucial to allow children the rest they need during this critical stage in their early childhood development.  

Parents also need sufficient time to adjust to this change. It can feel like you were transitioning your little one to an early childhood education centreonly yesterday, and then, in a flash, it’s time for primary school! The key thing to remember is that your child will adapt, quickly making new friends and growing into their Kindergarten routine with more confidence every day. You, too, will find it easier to leave them at the gate with every passing day. It is not a brand-new experience for long!  

If you would like more information about starting school, the NSW Government has a comprehensive resource about ‘Getting Ready for Primary School,’ which provides extremely helpful parental support to those transitioning a child for the first time.  

And if things appear challenging in the beginning, remember the wise words of Dr Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Starting school is one of many new experiences your child will face – and, before long, they will be conquering the world.   

Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres are expert childcare providers, with a leading School Readiness Program created to help children make their learning transition from preschool to primary school a successful one.  

For more information about how we prepare preschool children for Kindergarten, talk to our team and get in touch today.