Are you worried about your child’s transition from early childcare to pre-school to school? Do you feel as if they may not be ready or need some guidance?
This is certainly a dilemma many parents come into contact with, unsure on how to deal with the challenging phase of their children's life. It is an emotional day for the whole family. You are finally letting go of your precious little one and sending them off to a bigger and better world; without you!
As much as you may be dreading it, it is a big and important transition for your child as they are entering a new system with many unfamiliar faces and places.
There are certain steps you can take as a parent to help your child have a seamless transition from childcare to school, making it less painful than it is.
“School is the path, not the point”
- Will Richardson
A report by the Victorian Auditor-General (2015) divides the transition to school into four stages:
- Preparation - equipping the child to depart
- Transfer - shifting the child from one environment to another
- Induction - settling the child into the new environment
- Consolidation - monitoring the child's advancements and assisting with support
Boost your child's confidence and stay prepared for early childcare centres
Preparing your child for what they are going to be experiencing on a daily basis is crucial in assisting their transition. Some simple tasks you can carry out include:
- Having a conversation with your child about the positive aspects of the life they are going to have during pre-school/school including all the fun activities they are going to perform and the amazing friends they are going to make. This will help them have a promising attitude before they even take their first step onto the school grounds.
- Preparing your child by carrying out focus based activities and disciplining them with direction and listening skills will also assist them with a smooth transition.
- Independence is key. Teaching your child to carry out certain tasks on their own such as; going to the bathroom, eating, washing their hands, tying their shoelace etc. will help them feel more confident when stepping into such an unfamiliar environment - where you will no longer be holding their hand.
- Familiarising your child with the school/preschool before they attend is a great way of mentally preparing them.
- Pack a preschool/school kit for your child with their daily essentials labelled including a hat, money, favourite toy and other belongings to help them feel confident and safe in their new daunting environment. Labelling their items will create a sense of authority as well as save the hassle of any upsets they may encounter on the first couple of weeks.
Defining the perfect transition is hard. However, the Centre for Educational Statistics and Evaluation describe it in a holistic way:
When the child feels that they belong in the new place, whatever it is, when the educator feels that they belong as part of this new group of children, when the family feels that they belong - I think then you can say they have all made an optimal transition.
At home ‘to-do list’: Skills before sending my child off to a preschool near me
Research from the Australian Early Development Census Report 2015 shows that children are at risk by 15% regarding communication skills, emotional maturity and social competence
Some simple skills which you can implement within your homes educational system could include:
- Ability to respond to situations and pay attention for long periods of time
- Capability to remain focused and complete tasks which are assigned to them
- Ability to work alongside rules/policies and regulations
- Skills to work independently
Supporting your child through their developmental stages will be the ultimate key in creating a smooth transition from child care into preschool, and then into ‘big’ school. Activities such as reading can assist in increasing your child’s attention span. Daily reading tasks will help increase how long they can focus. Keeping tabs on this is a great way to assess improvement.
Giving your child specific chores and responsibilities can help them remain independent while understanding the importance of carrying out tasks. Other activities including writing, counting, and measuring should be practised at home before they start preschool.
Studies have also confirmed that the right amount of sleep is necessary for children in order for them to have a healthy lifestyle and adjusted for school.
Setting up a sleep routine for your child before they start school is important in creating a strict daily regime for them, similar to some of the routines they are going to have to follow during preschool/school.
Sleep is also important for a child's concentration levels and behaviour. Going to school is a new and tiring activity for children, therefore it is important that they receive ample sleep so they are energised and positive.
Co-operation is a significant part of preschool/school life. Building this particular skill by playing certain games which involve sharing and taking turns can assist. Encouraging your child to take care of their own belongings will also prepare them for social interactions within the classroom and the playground of any educational setting, and in turn, many others.
Creating a sense of independence and ownership will make their life easier during particular activities at school - for example lunch, recess and playtime. If your child recognises their belongings and takes care of them, it not only makes the process easier but also teaches them the importance of taking care of their property, promoting a sense of responsibility and independence.
It is important for your child to have a positive interaction with other children and develop these vital social skills. Encouraging conversation with others, taking them out to public places, and meeting new people can assist with their social development and create confidence before starting preschool/school.
This is an exciting and daunting step for you and your child. Have fun with it, get involved and help them become the best version of themselves.
Young Academics can walk side by side with you with our Transition to School Program. A program specifically designed to provide a well-rounded approach to learning, as well as create the right foundation for your child before they move on to the next stage of their life.