Take it easy
As a mother of three daughters, I have prepared all of them for school during what have at times been anxious summers. Despite my university training and many years teaching experience, I haven’t always got it right but I have learnt a lot along the way. In fact, I think that I may have put my middle daughter off reading completely before she had even started school. Thankfully, her excellent Reception Class Teacher succeeded in correcting my overzealous approach.
That’s not to say that you should do nothing, but it needs to be fun and interactive. Your daughter will want to play games and complete puzzles with you, share stories and go on adventures. She will have her entire first year in school to develop her reading, writing and numeracy skills. She will discover that learning is both rewarding and exciting, leading to a thirst for self-discovery and knowledge acquisition. It is my professional responsibility and that of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) team to ensure that your daughter develops a happy, confident ‘can do’ attitude, which is both endemic and infectious – encouraging her to embrace the risks and challenges that new learning brings.
What you can do at home to help prepare your daughter for starting school, is to focus on her personal and social development. Invite other children around to play, modelling good social interaction and engagement. Encourage speaking and listening skills; maintaining eye contact – looking at the person who is addressing you; being an active participant within the conversation and listening attentively to the answers given. Help your daughter with her self-care – toileting, dressing, doing up shoes and buttons. Tights in particular can be incredibly tricky to put back on once they have been taken off for PE. Help her to use a knife and fork correctly, chopping soft food up for herself and having the courage to try something new. She won’t know whether or not she likes it unless she has tried it. Encourage ‘life skills’….it is so much quicker to help them at home. In school we are promoting independence and self-awareness, but you will help them with this journey by encouraging them to do more for themselves and become less reliant on adult help.
Share books and stories about starting school – Topsy & Tim, Lola and Peppa Pig have all experienced first days at school. Chat with your daughter about starting school. What do they think it will be like? What are they most looking forward to? Is there anything they are unsure or worried about?
Many children settle into school life easily, while others may take a little longer. It is an integral part of the Early Years Framework to educate every individual child and no matter what your daughter’s strengths and weaknesses may be, the staff at Burgess Hill Girls will work in partnership with you to ensure that they have the most amazing start to their educational journey through school.
Above all be brave……the anxiety that you will feel when you leave your daughter for the first time should not be underestimated. I can distinctly remember ‘clock –watching’ the first day my eldest started, wondering if she was having a good time, if she had made friends or had been upset at all – just wanting to be part of her new world. She had of course had an absolutely amazing time and loves being at Burgess Hill Girls. I now have to prepare myself for her transition into Senior School – something she is looking forward to immensely. Enjoy every moment of your daughter’s school experience as it will soon pass by and you will find yourself saying, ‘Do you remember when….’
Reception Class Teacher