To help get your little ones (and you) ready for the first day of school, we have partners with Eaton Square Prep School to guide us through this exciting, but nerve-wracking, time.
- Eaton Square Prep School -
We spoke to Mrs Isabel Mouzo, Head of Early Years at Eaton Square Prep and Nursery Schools on her top tips.
First Day of School | How to Prepare:
Starting school or indeed starting a new school is a huge milestone, it can be exciting for both parents and their children. Below are a few tips that can help with a smooth transition, broken down into familiarisation, routine, and playdates. These tips are to be used little and often, too much can be overwhelming.
During the summer holidays, take short walks past school, this will familiarise your child with the journey and the building and enables you to know how long the journey will take, helping you to avoid a rushed and stressful journey on the first day.
If your child is having a packed lunch, chat with them about their favourite things and practise having a packed lunch at home so they are familiar with the concept and the items that they will be enjoying at lunch time. Remember they have little tummies and can be overwhelmed with too many items, especially new ones. If your child is having a school lunch, ensure that they can use a knife and fork and give them many opportunities to practise these skills. At Eaton Square, our littlest learners have mini knives and forks and we give them lots of praise and encouragement for their efforts.
Try to establish a new routine in the lead up to the first day of school. For example, try getting up in the morning at the time you will when your child starts school and allowing your child to independently dress themselves are great ways to prepare them for the first day. You could even practise putting on their school uniform, should they be required to wear one.
If your child had a transition morning and you exchanged numbers with other new parents, why not arrange a playdate or two to socialise your child with some of their new classmates. Getting ready to start a new school has very little to do with learning numbers and phonics, emotional and practical preparation are very important. In the Early Years at Eaton Square, we champion learning through play and really focus on Personal, Social and Emotional Development so playdates are a great way to help your child grow their self-confidence. There are lots of great books to read with your child about starting school too, our favourites are ‘Starting School’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, ‘I am Too absolutely small for School’ by Lauren Child and ‘When I am Big’ which you can buy from Pepa’s gorgeous book collection.
During the first few days of school, your child will be getting to know their teachers, peers, and environment. The settling in period is important for your child's teachers to gain your child’s trust and attention as well. Every nursery has a settling in period, and it is important that you work in partnership with your child's teacher during this important time. At Eaton Square, we find that if children gradually settle and parents and teachers work in partnership, children adjust to their new environment and routine far more quickly.
Mrs Mouzo’s Top Tips for a great first day of school:
- Familiarisation – with food, clothes, and the school itself
- Routine – waking up times and independent dressing.
- Playdates – socialising and emotional preparation
- Partnership – work with the class teacher
As nervous as you may be for your child to start school, it is important to be positive, happy, and confident when talking about their school, teacher, and class. The school wants to build positive relationships with you and your little one and undoubtedly cannot wait to get to know them once term begins! Your child absorbs and mirrors your mindset, attitude, and behaviours so it is imperative that they are picking up positive messaging from you. Saying goodbye will be much easier if you are excited and positive when saying goodbye at the gate!
Having a strong support group of friends and family members or other parents that you can chat to about your worries and concerns is a great way to chat about your feelings without imposing them on your child. They’ll likely have their own advice and remind you that it is perfectly normal to feel a little anxious.
Preparation is key and it can start the night or even days before. Ensure that your child’s uniform is laid out and ready, pack their back and perhaps even make their packed lunch the day before to avoid any last minuteness on the morning of the first day. Give yourself plenty of time on the first day to get your child out the door and on the road. If possible, allow some time to settle your child in their classroom before getting to work or other engagements yourself. At Eaton Square, we love parents to be involved in the school community and look forward to meeting parents at coffee mornings, curriculum evenings and open house events. Add these dates to your diary in advance if you are planning on attending.
Mrs Mouzo’s Top 3 Tips for how to say goodbye:
- Mindset and mirroring – positive attitude
- Support group – keeping any negative feelings away from your child.
- Plan your day – helping you to arrive on time
- Every child is unique and will handle starting school differently, take things at your child’s pace and try not to compare them to their peers, or even their siblings.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go ‘to plan’.
- Your child is in the best possible hands, with experts on settling in and sometimes the hardest thing is taking them home after a brilliant day!
For specific enquiries and/or further guidance for your little one, please contact Eaton Square on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find out more about Eaton Square Prep and Nursery Schools
- Visit Eaton Square and Nursery Schools – Exclusive Open Morning on Saturday 7th October!
- Discover Eaton’s Square’s brand new Nursery School (‘The Nest’)