Some parents ask about what is expected of a child when they come into school for the first time. Whilst all children are different, parents can make the transition from home to school easier by letting their children become more independent at home.
A child learns best by doing things. Try to find the time to let him/her help you at home. Talk about what you are doing and use every opportunity to name colours and count familiar objects. Remember that all children in school are expected to cope with going to the toilet unsupervised, to get dressed after a P.E. lesson and to put on their own coat at playtimes and home time. Please be patient and let them try to do these things for themselves at home well before they have to deal with them in school.
It is most important that children are able to communicate with others. They must be able to talk and make themselves understood, especially when they need the toilet. Please talk to your child, and encourage speaking in sentences rather than using one-word comments. Talk about things you have done together and show interest in any comments they make about playgroup or nursery.
Another important activity is reading to your child every day. Children enjoy joining in with the words of a familiar book or rhyme and will learn that the squiggles on a page are words. A positive attitude towards books will help them learn to read more easily in school.
Children must also be able to co-operate with others. Learning to share and take turns is a basic requirement for all pre-school children. Parents can encourage this by playing games with their children and letting them play with other children under supervision.
Before children can learn to write clearly they must have good control over their hand movements. Playing with playdoh type materials, using children’s scissors and drawing with felt tips or crayons will all help to develop confidence. Please write your child’s name on their paper, using a capital letter only at the beginning of the word.
Once at school, it is important that children are well rested so that they can concentrate and cope well with lots of activities. Children aged 4 should be going to bed at around 7.00pm, with a children’s cd playing if necessary. At this age, they should not have access to a television or games console after this time, even if turned off. Parents should be particularly aware of age limits on films and games, as unsuitable viewing material can prey on young children’s minds. Be especially mindful of the unsuitability of the content of some early evening ‘soaps’, as children often watch quietly and confuse reality with the storylines.