Don’t just think it’s your child that needs to be ready for the start of school. Now that you have made the decision to send to school, there are certain expectation and responsibilities that you will need to be aware of. All schools are different, however I want to discuss some very simple expectations that teachers and schools discuss with us on a regularly basis.
All schools will expect children to:-
Have eaten a healthy and nutritious breakfast. In most schools the literacy and numeracy components of the day, occurs in the morning or before lunch, so breakfast is a must before school. Teachers see some children fading in energy and exhibiting fatigue as early as morning teatime. Ask the school if they have ‘fruit break ‘ or ‘munch and crunch’ to keep their levels of concentrate going until lunchtime.
Be in bed by a reasonable time on a school night. As teachers, we see a wide range of expectations in this area from parents. A child starting kindergarten will be sleeping on average for 10-11 hours each night. If this is not occurring in your household then you now have 6 months to change your routines. Be very strict with school nights. Teachers say they are dealing with tired and cranky children are their concern is that it inhibits the potential of learning to occur . For example, we had one parents in the early childhood environment who said that they had trouble getting their children into bed before 11pm every night. It was no wonder that the child in question was listless, found it difficult to concentrate and found quiet areas to rest in during the day.
Dress and undress themselves. Start now and encourage some independence because it will only help them when at school. Make sure all girls are comfortable and have had practice with tights, especially going to the bathroom. Another suggestion would be to buy Velcro shoes for the first couple of years to take away the pressure of tying a shoelace. Most children will have these. I heard one mother say that she left her shoelaces untied all day in kindergarten because the teachers were too busy to tie them up.
Be on time, and in saying that, be at school before the bell sounds in a calm and orderly manner. If you are not a morning person and the mornings are always a struggle, then recognise it and do most things in the evening. Lunches can be pre made and stored in the fridge (yes bread remains fresh when unwrapped the next day), Bags can be packed and at the front door and uniforms all organised in each child’s bedroom. Television before school can be quite calming in the house. It can also have the opposite effect with slow eaters and slow dressers, so establish a rule that TV turns off at a certain time OR TV does not go on until everything is done and all are ready to leave the house. Teachers will call a meeting with you if you are a consistent offender in tardiness as it disrupts the morning with all the other children.
When you consider the amount of time you are with your child in comparison to a school teacher, its no wonder that the saying “Parents are a child’s first educator” deems true. Starting school is not a time for parents to sit back and let teachers take the reins; it’s a working partnership with teachers taking on the role of the formal educator. Everything else is still up to the parent. Homework needs parents to establish a time and place, supervise and assist and check.
There is roughly 2 weeks left before school starts. Establish a routine, morning and bedtime. Give your child some jobs to do as well as dressing and undressing themselves to increase their independence and make rules and hold firm on all electronic devices (TV included) .
Good luck and I am hoping you will all be given a gold star.