Back To School Tips For Parents of Prep Students | Teacher Perspective
Heartstrings are being pulled- Starting school for the first time
Being a teacher of Prep students comes with huge responsibility and a need for lots of patience for both the students and the parents. We are their first teacher and they come into our classroom with fresh impressionable minds, but are also often anxious about being away from their parents for five days a week eight hours a day. Parents are also wary of the teacher they have met as they are entrusting their child with them. As a teacher I felt it very important to build a positive relationship with them so they would trust me and know that I would look after their child.
After having my two children I now realise even more heart wrenching this experience is for some parents and their child. Their heartstrings are being pulled everytime they leave my classroom as their precious child is left with me. The protective nature of being a parent comes out and you just want to make sure your child is happy, feels safe and has someone to play with.
Here are some tips to help settle the nerves of your child and yourself.
1. I believe you need to talk to your child who is about to start school quite early on and be open and honest with them so they feel in control and are aware of what is going on. It helps if the child knows who their teacher is and where their classroom is. Often schools will have transition days where you can tour the school, have a play, meet the teacher and be shown things like where the toilet is or the areas they are allowed to play in.
2. Children often feel more settled if they know other children in their class so if the opportunity to organise a play date in the holidays comes about, then do it. It is also nice for the parents to develop friendships so you can help each other out with remembering notes, performance times or even help with babysitting etc.
3. Simple things like the child feeling confident about going to the toilet or being able to open their lunchbox by themselves can sometimes make school time or lunchtime a success or failure. Practise at home by having a pretend lunchtime where they are responsible to go to their bag, get their lunch out, open it and choose the right foods to eat. For example teach your child what they can eat at recess and what they should leave until lunchtime), how to put their rubbish in the bin, where to put their lunchbox, how to use the toilet by themselves and wash their hands. You can see how overwhelming school can be with how many decisions they need to make by themselves (and why they are so tired in the early days of starting school).
4. Talking to your child about their teacher in a positive way always helps to build good relationships as often if you promote trust in the teacher they will feel better about staying at school by themselves. It is also a good idea to talk to your child about what they can do if they need help with something or if they don’t have anyone to play with. Often teachers aren’t always aware of what happens in the school yard each day so if the child feels comfortable talking to the teacher about their situation it can help.
5. Communication is the key to success! It is so important to build a relationship with the teacher so that if you have concerns, you can approach the teacher and discuss it. Often the situation or problem can be resolved quickly rather than going through the Principal or Coordinator. It is also so important to read all the notes the teacher sends home so that your child has the right uniform, suitable food, completes sightwords or reading and is able to attend the excursion etc. Children feel more settled when they are organised and this helps the transition for them to be successful at school.
Starting school is such an exciting phase of life for both the child and the parent. It can be an emotional one where each needs to learn how to be independent of each other. Having a positive approach to starting school will help the child to embrace the amazing opportunities that will be offered and will help ease them into feeling settled in the classroom and with their teacher.
About the author- Sara is a Primary School teacher who has taught from Prep to Year Seven. She has completed her Masters of Education and now is enjoying being a mum to her two gorgeous children. Sara is the owner of the online store www.frombabytokids.com.au, which stocks wooden toys, capsule covers, organic sleeping bags and useful baby items.