Are you feeling ‘school ready’? Here is a brief guide to help you prepare.
As we bid farewell to August it may come as a relief to some parents, grandparents and carers, but for many children it can be a mixture of emotions. Fear of the unknown often occupies our minds, and for pupils entering a new school year, and a new school, this can be multiplied by ten. It isn’t just the children that start to feel anxious, parents and carers can also be affected as they consider bidding goodbye to their cherished–all too soon grown-up-babies at the school gates. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. It’s normal for you and your children to feel apprehensive. The best thing you can do is be as prepared as you can ahead of the first day of term. We hope you find this list helpful – we would be interested in hearing your ‘back to school’ experiences and tips.
Preparation for school can begin weeks ahead of the first day. Children who may be nervous could benefit from thinking about the things they are looking forward to experiencing. To keep things calm at home, perhaps you could discuss the snacks, packed-lunches or school meals and choose some nutritious and delicious things you know that they love. You could talk about their friendship groups and the excitement of making new friends and what makes a good friend.
To ease children into their new school year, most of the schools we work with offer a range of services to ensure smooth transitions if they’re moving classes, or from infants to primary or to secondary. They also offer special settling in days for those coming to school for the very first time.
What is important
Try not to feel daunted by the pull of shops brandishing the latest pencil cases and rucksacks and trainers…it’s much more important that your child feels safe and secure. It is not about the stuff that costs money and should never break the bank. If your child does have all the gear, please remember others won’t, and so it’s important that children are kind to each other.
In the lead up to the ‘big day’ it’s important to keep things as calm as possible. Organising uniform, bags, packed lunches and knowing the route and timings of the school run will make for a smooth and hopefully stress-free arrival.
Please note most of our schools now operate a school uniform swap that not only helps to cut down on costs, it also makes for a more sustainable environment which your children will be learning all about.
Getting enough sleep is vital. Easier said than done, but establishing a healthy bedtime routine and encouraging a regular bedtime and waking up time is really important. Sleep deprivation can cause so many problems for children at school. As well as increasing levels of stress and anxiety, you don’t want them falling asleep in assembly or on the mat at story time. Adults need to get some good sleep too as it is well-known catching some ZZZs helps ease the potential stress of the next day. Plan how long it will take for showers, breakfast and getting ready and add another ten minutes for those last minute panics and make sure you set your alarm!
Navigating your first day
Older pupils who already have access to their timetables should look at them closely and get to know their new surroundings, so they are on time for their first lesson. It also helps shape their new routine so their days will become familiar.
Thankfully, the Trust schools we know are well-versed to understanding the often complex needs of its pupils. Our SEHM/SEND schools and many of our mainstream schools invite their new children in for settling in days and even weeks as they ease them into a new period of their lives.
Beyond the first day
For pupils who have enjoyed a summer of playing and relaxing and ignoring the clock, getting back to the classroom can be a shock to the system.They may find the onset of homework a little challenging so it’s important to look out for signs of stress and keep an eye out for those all important homework diaries. It’s important for pupils not to worry and to take one day at a time. Parents/carers can help them along with a diary of their work enabling them to prioritise the more time-sensitive work.
Most of us can remember what it’s like to start a new school, a new class, a new term. We know the gamut of emotions but it’s important that we try to stay positive and not accidentally project any negative experiences we have held on to. Please remember that the staff at your school will be on hand to support you every step of the way.
We wish you and your children the very best of luck for this exciting school year.
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