It is almost that time of year where we get ready to send our school-aged children off for another year of school.
It is a bittersweet moment for me this year as I prepare for my third child and only daughter, Olivia, to start Kindergarten.
I still remember Olivia as a baby and I can't believe she will be starting school this year! How quickly the time has gone... I will have all three at the same place. Yay, to one less drop off!
Olivia is very excited to start big school with her brothers and thought I would share with you how we have been preparing for school over the past few months.
nearly all schools have them and although Olivia was familiar with the school as she would tag along to pick-ups and school events for her big brothers, even playing in the playground after school! Orientation was a great opportunity for Olivia to meet the teachers and her future classmates. She saw some familiar faces from pre-school, which was also nice and helped with her feeling a little less nervous for her first day.
I like to have at least 2 sets of uniforms to get through washing days, plus we needed her school bag and pair of school shoes. We went to get Olivia's shoes fitted at Shoes and Sox as I wasn't sure what shoes to purchase. It is such a change from having only had to buy shoes for boys in the past!
We went with the Mary Jane style. Our friends at Tip Toe and Co (https://tiptoeandco.com.au) have a similar style.
We purchased a Little Lunch Box Co lunchbox, ice pack and Montiico water bottle from Adventure Snacks (www.adventuresnacks.com.au).
Keep a lookout for their Back to School offers this week!
We will be trying on the whole uniform and practising packing and unpacking bags in the coming weeks to get ready.
Olivia has been practising writing her name and where she has shown an interest, in other words, we have tried those too.
Every now and then I check in with Olivia to see how she is feeling about starting school. She won't be attending with her closest friends but she is ok with that and looking forward to making new ones!
We have been reading School's First Day of School by Adam Rex, which has helped as it talks about first day nerves from a different perspective, the school's! Although it is US based and talks about elementary rather than Kindergarten or Pre-K, it is funny, light-hearted read and has helped to lighten Olivia's first day nerves.
I thought I would share a great set of tips and tricks for School Readiness provided by an Australian business Miss Patti's Clever Kids who has very kindly allowed me to share this helpful advice.
Staring ‘big’ school is an incredible experience. Both children and parents will have lots of different feelings and emotions surrounding the lead up to your child’s first day.
Having lots of support around you from family to friends, and even teachers at the school are vital for you and your child to have a positive and smooth transition.
But how do you know if your child is ‘school ready’? How can you help them be better prepared for school?
Here are some hints and tips to help both you and your child be ready for this exciting milestone:
Playing dress-ups at home in the lead up to starting school will help children practice with things like buttons and zips, as well as taking things on and off.
Practice makes perfect here!
Have dad or an important male figure in your child’s life help them to try and use a urinal and ensure children can wipe themselves properly too.
Practice by going on a picnic!
Do they know what happens next and can they wait and cope with change or when unexpected things occur?
Having the concentration span to do this is very important.
At school, group time is something that happens a lot and not being distracted during this time, will ensure your child maximises their learning potential. To help them develop skills in this area you could read stories to them at home. As well as helping children to develop an understanding that letters put together make words and words put together form sentences, reading at home will also help your child to improve their concentration and listening skills.
Things to do whilst reading a book at home can be:
In addition to this can your child:
Being able to write and recognise their first name is so vital.
Children who are able to do this seem to have extra self-confidence. Being able to recognise their name gives children a sense of ownership and independence. It also allows them to recognise and identify their own labelled belongings.
A great way to help practice this is with Miss Patti’s Clever Kids Wipe Clean Name Writing Card or Personalised Name Writing Kit. They can be made to suit any first or last name. They are reusable so that children can practice without pressure and are a vital tool to help parents give their children the confidence to learn how to recognise and write their name, the easy and fun way!
They also help to develop and improve fine motor skills.
Having knowledge of how to hold a pencil, how to hold a pair of scissors, how to colour within the lines and how to cut on a line, are all skills required of children starting ‘big school’.
Children who possess a sound knowledge of these skills, transition smoother and adjust faster to the school environment and faster-paced energy.
First days are exciting for children but for parents can be emotional too! Try to remember to be happy and excited and talk about all the positives of school. Your child senses and picks up on your feelings and emotions, so if you’re excited you will find they will be too!
Miss Patti is also a parent who’s firstborn is starting school this year, so she can totally relate. The best advice she can give is for parents to feel the feelings but be cautious of what you say and how you display these feelings around your child.
Don’t forget some self-care for yourself too! Go for a coffee date with a friend, go for a walk, busy yourself and when your child finishes their first day give them the biggest squeeze when you pick them up and a pat on the back for yourself, because you did it!
Miss Patti is a preschool teacher, currently completing her degree and has been teaching for over fifteen years. She has focused on school readiness for twelve of those years and during this time has helped many children get ready for school. The clever kits are created based on the program she developed and has used with children going off to big school and even prep for many, many years with a 100% success rate!
If you would like to check out Miss Patti’s Clever Kids School kits, specially designed to target skills for getting school ready, they can be found here.
I hope you enjoyed my first blog post of the year and one that I hope helps many parents to get school ready for years to come!
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