Your child should have had the opportunity to visit their new classroom and meet the staff before they formally start.
Many schools operate a staggered entry system in September, to give children the chance to settle in small groups before the whole class finally meets together.
Before the “Big Day”, make sure you have all the uniform and equipment your child needs and that they can get in and out of their clothes and recognise their own belongings.
Make sure you label everything as things get mixed up and lost, especially in cloakrooms and after P.E. lessons.
Talk about how exciting going to school is, but make sure that you help your child to appreciate that this is the start of a long and regular adventure – many are the stories of children who complete their first day and confidently believe that it’s also their last.
Be positive and bright when you drop your child off – a hug and a smile and then be prepared to leave them. Don’t be tempted to hang around to make sure if they’re okay.
Don’t be too worried if your child cries, many do and most stop crying and get on with the adventure as soon as they think you’re out of earshot.
If your child is going to be eating in school on their first day, make sure they have familiar, easy to eat food so that the meal will go as smoothly as possible.
Don’t worry about your child being able to write their name or know their numbers, the most important things are:
- To recognise and respond to their name when called.
- To be able to put on and do up their coat and any hats/gloves.
- To take off and put on their own shoes and socks (most schools suggest shoes with Velcro fastenings and most teachers will thank you if you can avoid outing girls in tights).
- To be able to go to the toilet without help.
- To be able to ask for what they need in a way that can be easily understood (so no special family words for toilet, etc).
Its also important for you to make sure that the staff are aware of any dislikes or allergies your child might have.
Learning in Reception classes today is very much about exploring and experiencing, so children are going to find themselves being encouraged to get their hands dirty whilst digging or planting or investigating different textures.
They are going to be encouraged to talk about their thoughts, feelings and ideas and are going to have opportunities to access the Internet.
When the staff are aware of potential problems as well as things your child is enthusiastic about, they can manage the situation appropriately.
Finally, make sure your child gets plenty of rest and good food in the days leading up to their starting in Reception.
It is an exciting and stressful time and they will need all the energy they can get so that they make a positive start to their school career.