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Tips for Your Child's First Day at School

Tips for Your Child's First Day at School

Sunday, August 28, 2016 - 12:53

Photo: mrdoomits

It is fascinating, as a teacher and a mum, to observe how different children react to you on their first day at school. Some will happily beam up at you, while others might ask you quite bluntly "who are you?" Quite a few, however, are more inscrutable.

But whether your little one is Miss Congeniality, Charlie Brown, or Bambi on their first day at school, here are some tips to get them off to the best possible start.

 It's Good To Talk 

No doubt you will have tons of questions for them when they return home, but you should keep it very simple. Adopt a child's eye view and ask things like "what colour is your peg?" Or "Who did you sit beside?" Avoid value laden questions about whether they liked their teacher, or found the work easy. You want them to respond to their first experiences of formal education on their own terms, not yours.

Rhyme Time

You could try making up a little ditty to raise a chuckle and keep things light, for example, how about rapping " how was school, was it cool, did you jump in the pool or break a rule? " They might respond with shouts of "Oh Mum!" as mine did, but awareness of rhyme is a key indicator of readiness for reading, and it's fun.

As Easy as 1-2-3

As tempting as it is to go full steam ahead with number bonds, you will be doing your child a bigger favour if you develop their early numeracy skills instead. Spatial awareness, estimating, pattern recognition and problem solving are all foundational maths skills and can be incorporated into daily routines. Asking questions like: "Where is Teddy? He's underneath the chair, isn't he?"  Or "how many apples do you think will fit onto the fruit bowl?" will develop your child's  awareness of shape, position and movement, and so provide a good grounding for later mathematical understanding.

Social Skills

When your child emerges from their first full day at Big School, your first instinct will be to nurture and protect them, but remember that boundaries are still important. Teachers often cite a child's lack of awareness of boundaries as a barrier to their learning and socialisation. Make allowances for being extra tired and cranky, but don't let that be an excuse for bad behaviour at home!

Finally, you and your child have come a long way to take this first step together on their first foray into education, so make sure you take some time to celebrate and enjoy this special moment with your little fledgling.

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