Transition times are important for young children as they adjust to their new surroundings and routines. Our Lower Loop Cohort Leader Nick Garvin shares tips on how to ease the adjustment process and make the first few days at school go smoothly.
Your child’s first day of school is a milestone. It's where he or she will spend most days of the week and most of his or her time in the years to come. That said, the transition can be a nerve-wracking process for both parents and their kids. However, there are some things you can do to help your child be as prepared as possible for school . There are so many ways we can help children make a good transition to school. These include visiting the school before it opens, becoming familiar with the new surroundings, reading books, and fostering friendships – but at the heart of all these is communication and independence.
Leading up to the First Day
1. First and foremost, take time to talk with your child about the move to school and what will happen during that time.
2. Visiting the school ahead of time, meeting with your child's their Learning Designer, and getting to know the classroom learning space are also important aspects. While on campus, familiarize yourself and your child with the transition process.
3. A consistent and predictable goodbye routine can make saying goodbye easier. Some parents wave from the classroom window or make a fun goodbye greeting.
4. In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, adjust your child’s sleeping and eating routines to better fit the school schedule.
Lower Loop Cohort Leader Nick Garvin engages with some of Early Years students in a well-being activity
5.Gradually introduce your child to activities that take place frequently in the classroom and give him or her opportunities for independence. Help your child develop a sense of autonomy. Opening the lunch box, putting on the school uniform, or carrying the school bag independently are just a few examples.
The First Day at School
6, Emotions could run high, so it's best to make the first day as simple and predictable as possible. Routine and reflection are key here.
7.Make sure you spend plenty of quality time with your child at home during the first week. Use this time to reflect on the day, using verbal and nonverbal cues such as stories or drawings.
Our Lower Loop Cohort Leader Nick Garvin and his family during his daughter Amelie's first day at school
"Make the first day as simple and predictable as possible."
8. Reading back-to-school books aloud is a great and easy way to engage in conversation with your child and familiarize him or her with school routines through stories. Stories with characters your child can identify with or characters experiencing their first day of school are useful for thinking about and connecting with your child's experiences. Below is a list of age-appropriate books to try with your child.
- David Goes to School by David Shannon
- Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen
- First Day of School by Anne Rockwell
- When I Miss You by Cornelia Maude Spelman
- Take a Kiss to School by Angela McAllister
- It’s Time for Preschool by Esme Raj Codell
- A Pocketful of Kisses by Audrey Penn
9.Talk to your child about their new classmates. What are the names of their friends? What activities did they do? What games did they play? Once you have this information, set up playdates with children from your child's class.
Arranging playdates with your child's classmates can help him or her feel more connected
Remember that children adapt quickly and that separation is a process. You and your child will need time to adjust to the new situation. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful new milestone in your and your child's life.