Starting school or moving up to big school can be nerve-wracking for children and be a source of anxiety for parents. Many schools offer the chance for both parents and children to attend pre-school visits and acclimatisation days – there are a host of benefits to be had for those that attend.
Benefits of Pre-School Visits for Parents
For parents, there are many benefits to be had of pre-school visits. For a start, it’s very useful to go and visit a school before your child goes there so you can assess whether or not you think it offers everything you’d like in a school for your child.
If you get the opportunity, it’s good to visit a school on an organised open day, such as when the school is holding a day for all interested parents, as well as calling in and having a look around with a teacher on another occasion. On an open day, a school will obviously be focusing on their positive points and selling the school to its best ability, but you may get a slightly more realistic view if you visit when normal lessons and daily school life is in action.
As well as seeing how the school is run, what the typical classroom sizes are and how children are taught, it’s also useful to be able to get an idea of the schools ethos and principles. Meeting the teachers is useful as well, especially those who may be the teacher for your child when they first join the school, and you should be able to get a good vibe about the school as a whole.
Benefits of School Acclimatisation Days for Children
Going to a new school, whether starting for the first time, changing schools or moving up to secondary school, is a big change for children and any chance of an acclimatisation day should be snapped up.
The organisation of an acclimatisation day can vary and it may or may not involve parents too, depending on the preference of the school involved (the open day for parents may run at a separate time). Typically, though, children may be introduced to the school by the head, then given a tour of the school, meeting teachers and seeing what goes on in certain lessons.
Sometimes there’s also the chance to meet form teachers and the other pupils who’ll be in their form or tutor group. This can be a really good introduction to children, especially those who are nervous about the new school, as it acquaints them with the school, introduces them to teachers and the other pupils they’ll be with when they actually start. They may even begin to form friendships from this first meeting.
Getting an idea of how the school is laid out, and perhaps even getting a map, can help reassure children that they’ll know where to go on their first day – something that can be a worry for children moving from small primary schools up to large secondary schools.