While nursery is, of course, an important childhood experience in its own right, it also has a huge role to play in preparing children for the next step: school. Having spent so long with youngsters who are about to make the transition into a school environment for the first time, we have a fair few tips to share with parents, about how you can help make sure they’re ready when it’s time to pack them off on their next adventure.
By focusing on developing independence as well as social skills including politeness and sharing, Kneehigh Nursery puts a lot of emphasis on the personal skills that children need when they move into a primary school environment. At the same time, abilities such as writing their own name and recognising numbers up to 5 can give them a great start when it comes to learning new information.
Here are some more tips that should help you, as a parent or guardian, when the time comes:
Take them for a visit. If you get a chance to take a look around together then take it, as it will really reassure your child to already know what to expect – and to have experienced the new surroundings with you before going it alone. Make sure that you focus on the areas that are important to them, not just the ones that are important to you: after all, they’re the ones who will need to settle in.
Make sure they can use the toilet independently. It may seem daft, but if you’ve always been there to help your kid when they need to use the toilet, they may struggle when the teacher can’t always be there. Just as important is the fact that it will be a source of pride and confidence to know that they are just as capable and independent as their peers! This includes aspects such as proper hand-washing and good hygiene.
Read with them regularly. When you read with your kids you are helping them in such a huge variety of ways, which go far beyond simply getting them familiar with the sort of books that they’ll be introduced to in school. From expanding their creativity and imagination to making them more empathetic, to helping them recognise letters and words, it’s one of the most important bonding experiences that you can have with your child.
Prepare them for any problems they might face – and explain how to resolve them. While, of course, you should be upbeat and positive about starting school – emphasising all of the good points and helping them to get excited – this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be upfront about the possibility of bumps along the way. Whether it’s the possibility of conflict with other children, the fact that they might feel nervous or uncertain at time, or the fact that they might forget something that seems important, discussing these things ahead of time can stop it feeling like the end of the world if it actually happens.
This doesn’t mean that you should aim to make your child worry about things, but rather that you should give them the confidence that they have the tools to deal with any problems that do come up. Remind them that they can always speak to a teacher or other member of staff about any concerns that they have, and help them think about how they can get on with other children – even if disagreements do arise.
With these steps in place, your child (and you!) will feel a lot more prepared for their new school life, and be more likely to settle in well. Although it may seem a little early in the school year to start thinking about these things, giving yourself plenty of time to prepare helps to ensure that you really are ready! We’ll also be sure to put the foundations in place that give your children a head start.