September may still seem a few weeks away, but schools around the country are already getting excited about the start of term.
One of the very best parts of the Autumn Term at Surbiton High Boys’ and Girls’ Preps is seeing our Reception pupils taking their first steps into the wonderful world of education! Amongst the blazers bought to last, the shiny snack boxes and the pristine book bags, there will be lots of excited faces. There are always numerous last-minute questions and we thought it might be useful to compile a few tips on making those first days smooth, positive and memorable.
- There is no such thing as a silly question. We know that starting school is as much of a learning curve for parents as it is for the pupils. Keep asking and there will be plenty of staff and parents on hand to help answer
- Keep curiosity alive by answering the many questions you will be getting about school! Learning stems from questions and investigations so keep them hungry to learn more. You can always keep them busy by asking a few back
- Make this an exciting adventure. It is a big deal, but a happy one which they are more than ready for. Acknowledge that it is normal to feel a bit nervous, as everyone will be, but that there will be so many fun things to do nerves will soon disappear
- Make sure your child knows the names of key members of staff. This should include their teacher and teaching assistant, as well as other staff who will help children settle in on their first few days
- Provide plenty of information about your child so that those key people know what makes your little one tick and wobble. Staff will have probably visited your child at Nursery but any up to date information will be very useful to ensure the transition is a smooth one
- Dry run the route you’ll be taking to school, at the time you’ll be taking it, to ensure that you arrive in good time. Once you are settled in, you may well find lift-shares and explore school transport too as this may be an easier way to get to school
- Make sure you know the routines, especially for the start of term. Many schools do a staggered start to help Reception pupils settle and acclimatise to school, so do double-check what time your child will start in the first few days. Also check that you are not coming in on an INSET day. These are published on the School website
- Label everything! You would be amazed by how much things can hide so the more labels the better! Helping your child to recognise their name is also really helpful. Make sure snack boxes and water bottles are labelled, as well as all uniform, socks and underwear
- Get your child to practise getting dressed and make sure you know which days they’ll be changing for activities such as sport, gym and dance. We know from experience that our girls love changing if they think it is a game or mini race.
- Try and make sure they can use a knife and fork so that lunchtimes are easy and enjoyable. There will be lots of scrumptious food to sample and lots of staff on hand to help but using cutlery independently will encourage independence early on so that they can get on with trying new foods and talking to their friends!
Finally, enjoy these precious moments – write a card that they can keep; take a picture, and make sure you get one with you in it! These will live in memory boxes for a long time to come! Schools know that this is such a special time for you and your family and will make sure that the event is a happy, exciting and successful one.
Clemmie Stewart, Senior Head of Surbiton High Preparatory Schools
Tracey Chong, Head of Boys’ Prep SchoolCategories: Prep Schools