October 6, 2022

Starting School video 1: Thinking about transition to school

Starting school is a big step for you and your child. Children who make a positive start to school are more likely to feel comfortable and develop a sense of belonging to the school community. They’re also more likely to feel excited and motivated to learn.
Together children and their families, early childhood education and care services and schools, help children along their journey. Starting and settling into school is not just about the first day; it begins when children and families start to prepare in the year before, and continues as children experience their first days, weeks and months of school. When the bell rings you go… come inside or line up at the door to go outside. We’ll get to go to the library and we’ll actually get to choose a book.
Write my name. Do homework. Ummm… Play. Um, going on excursion. There’s only one teacher and they don’t want to get a headache. Starting school involves a number of changes for children and their families, and everyone reacts differently to these.
The changes that children experience when they begin school relate to: the new physical environment, which is often bigger and busier, the new rules and procedures for the school day, the relationships that they will need to develop with teachers, staff and other children, and of course, the new learning experiences that school offers.
As a starting point it can be helpful to think about how your child copes with change and how you have supported them through change before. We have to wear a special school uniform. You have to wear a school dress if you’re a girl. And we need to take a backpack our schoolbag. Pack my lunchbox with lasagne.
There is a range of skills that your child has been developing that will help them as they settle into school. Some of these areas of development include their social and emotional skills, their independence and their learning skills.
Social skills include being able to share and take turns, spending time talking and playing with other children and understanding how to be a good friend. Being able to manage emotions are important skills for coping with challenges and for getting along with others. A child’s independence develops as they are encouraged to do more things for themselves, like getting dressed, packing their bags, and making their own decisions.
And then there are the learning skills. like being able to listen to a story, stay focused on a task share ideas with other people and make choices between activities, these provide the basis from which children learn the more academic skills of reading and writing.
Children have different rates of development and they won’t all have these skills when they start school; but they will learn and develop them over time. Sometimes parents worry that their children should be able to write their name or know the alphabet before they start school.
These skills are important but not all children are ready to do this before they start. Building on a child’s skills and strengths helps ensure they’re prepared for the changes that school brings. I guess what I tell parents is that school will continue to build these skills.
That means emotional skills, social skills academic and creative skills. When it was my first day and my dad left I was a bit sad. And my mum and dad came to school and they dropped me off I was a bit sad. Sometimes when you start you might feel a bit scared and I feeled like, yeah.
But, I was happy as well to start. You know, like any parent on the first day it’s quite upsetting seeing your little child and seeing them in their school uniform for the first time, aah, in front of the other kids too, it’s aah, they actually look so tiny.
I did notice some kids looking a little worried but I think because most of them had done that transition to school program and the parents had been given literature about how to prepare their kids I think most kids weren’t nervous as such.
What actually happened was that, you know, we took her down there gave her a quick cuddle, said good bye and that’s it, she was so excited she just walked off and, you know, we’re left standing there going, ummm, you know, “Where do we go now?”
Making a positive start to school helps your child to continue to develop their social, emotional, independence and learning skills which all contribute to your child’s mental health and wellbeing. Children who are mentally healthy are better able to meet life’s challenges. They’re also better learners and have stronger relationships.

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