As the new year begins, another group of young students have commenced their school years and entered their Prep classrooms for the very first time. The coming days and weeks can be a time of mixed emotions for both parents and children, being excited or anxious to start the year. Parents are saying goodbye to their small child who they have spent so much time with, and children are saying goodbye to their primary carer. Although it is an emotional time, most children are excited and run in the door without even looking back. Whatever the initial response, they all settle quickly and have a fun time.
Parents can support a successful transition to school in the first few weeks or months by doing a few things. Firstly, arriving early to school is helpful because it allows your child to feel settled in the school environment and gives them some time to socialise, chat to friends or play. This social time helps the child to feel more grounded and encourages a sense of belonging to the class or school. Secondly, being well prepared for the events of the day and having all the required equipment is key to a calm start. Finally, when it’s time for Mum or Dad to go, it’s best to offer a quick kiss and a cuddle then say good bye and keep going! A long goodbye will only emphasise a child’s anxiety. If there are separation issues, the teacher will handle it. Usually after a couple of minutes, when the child is given an ‘important job’ to do, everyone settles quickly.
In Prep, learning happens through fun, hands-on and play-based activities both inside and outside of the classroom. Quite often Preps don’t realise they are even learning! There are lots of opportunities for parents to be involved in their child’s learning both in the classroom or by reading with and supporting their child at home.
Prep is such a wonderful year of learning. One of the reasons I love teaching Prep is because of the huge amount of growth you see in such a short space of time. Most students come to Prep without being able to read a word but finish the year being able to read competently, write a story and speak more confidently and clearly. It is amazing to how capable such small children are. Reading is the most important skill a child will ever learn and knowing that I have been a part of that process is really rewarding.