School is fast approaching for many “rising five” year old children. Starting school is a big step at any time. This year, 2020, is certainly a big change as many children have been in lockdown. Usually, schools will have had introductory sessions, settling in days and this may not have been the case for your child this year. Starting school is an exciting time, but can also leave both you and your child feeling a little anxious and unsure.
Before having my daughter I was a teacher, predominantly in reception. Often parents worry about making sure their child is ‘school ready’. This doesn’t mean that your child needs to be able to write their name, know letters, read and count. That’s what they are going to school for. However, there are a few ideas I’d love to share with you to help your child feel more confident when they start school.
School Ready List (from a teacher)
- Recognise their own name – they don’t need to be able to write it – but being able to recognise their peg label, book bag, jumper etc. will make them feel much more confident.
- Know how to say the name of the adults in the classroom (things like asking for help and saying when they need the toilet is so much easier when you know the name of the person you are asking).
- Use the toilet independently – including wiping for ones and those number twos!
- Peel fruits – children get free fruit in reception so being able to peel bananas and oranges comes in handy.
- Dress and undress independently for PE.
- Fasten and unfasten their own coat and shoes.
We’ve got lots of the things on the Yes Bébé site to help you practically get ready for starting school too. Shop starting school here.
Starting School Books
As many of you already know, I’m a huge bookworm and truly believe that books have a very powerful way of helping our children to explore how they feel. They give us opportunities to talk to our children about how they are feeling, often through discussing characters in the books.
We’ve got some lovely books that you might find helpful to get your child prepared for the start of school. Lots of books are designed to touch on aspects of the school day, but in a really fun way. Many of these books would also be really lovely to share with children preparing to start at nursery or preschool too.
For most children starting in reception they will gradually begin to do some short activities alongside lots of wonderful learning through play. These may be as a whole class or in small groups. Activities may include things such as: singing songs together with actions and maybe numbers (5 Little Speckled Frogs for example), it may be sharing a story together, snack time together while talking about their weekend. You may already do these types of things, but if not they might be a lovely activity to do together before starting school.
Starting School Feelings
Lockdown has meant many children have had a myriad of feelings that have been challenging. There are so many great books to help you talk to your child about feelings. Some books will look at particular emotions and situations that your child may find themselves in.
One set of books that are so good for helping children to explore how they feel and what different emotions feel like and when they might happen are Anna Llenas Colour Monster books.
Tom Percival has also written a superb collection of diverse books to help children with understanding different aspects of how they feel or how other people may feel.
Worrysaurus is a favourite. Little Worrysaurus has lots of worries, but he’s got a great way to help him with his little tin of treasures. Often schools won’t let children bring things in from home (to be honest it can be a total nightmare especially when they inevitably get lost). However, if your child would benefit from having something special with them from home one little idea is to stitch a little piece of special fabric inside one of their pockets. This way if they need a little reminder of those safe feelings of home they can reach in their pocket and feel their special fabric – a little secret from home.
School will be a busy day for your little one. So many new experiences that can excite them, exhaust them and leave them needing to process. As parents, we want to know how their day has been. Try and follow their lead. If they want to chat away great, if they need a little quite time, go with it. Sometimes using some of the books about school and feelings can help give children an opportunity to talk should they wish to. Actually, any book would be great for a little quality time together and to connect after your separate day.
Good luck to all school starters – I hope you have a magical time.
If your child is a bookworm you might like to take a look at out Book Club monthly subscription that starts from £4/ month. You can find out lots more information about our Book Club in this blog post here.