A child’s first day of school can be a very stressful time for parents, especially if it’s their eldest or only child. However children can be very independent at that age and they really can’t wait to start school.
They usually settle after one or two days and usually love going to school. It may be the cause of a huge bag of mixed emotions but ultimately it’s a wonderful thing that they will be growing, learning, developing and building character but it’s definitely a whole new world.
Children can pick up on parents anxieties but just be positive and try and leave class as soon as you can after dropping them off…even if they are crying
Have the child well practised in dressing themselves in their school uniform. On busy mornings at home this will ease the pressure on you the parent and your child will be more independent.Buttons, zips and buckles are all tricky things for small hands so its good to get lots of practice with jackets, turning coats the right way around etc.For boys, trousers can be difficult to open and close, especially when they are new. Make sure they can go to the toilet easily in them.Velcro shoes makes everyone’s lives a lot easier. Their fine motor skills are not good enough for laces at this stage, so don’t give them what they cannot do up themselves.
Make sure your child is fully trained to go toilet totally independently. Inform the teacher if they have difficulties or any fears around toileting. Our school toilets are outside the classroom and they might be nervous of it. You might need to show them toilet and talk them through it.
Teachers teach them a toilet routine on the first few days but things can change for a child in a new environment, and they might forget to go etc. Schools usually have a spare change of clothes but just ask about what the procedure is for the changing of clothes.
Junior infants don’t need a lot in their school bag. It doesn’t need to be too big, just make sure that a document wallet or A4 sized envelope folder can fit in it.
Teachers provide the ‘hand hugger’ pencils and crayons..
Children need at least 10 hours sleep a night. Start a good sleep routine a week in advance of school. We recommend a nice story before bed rather than computer games etc, which only stimulate the brain.
Please inform teacher of food allergies or conditons such as asthma. Provide at least 2 contact numbers.
Label everything clearly..clothes, pencil case, school bag etc
In yard before school, encourage your child to stand on their own in the line and let the parent stand back. The parent can then go home, or go into a parents room for a coffee but its important for child to walk in independently so bad habits do not form. This does take a week or two to get right.
Lots of parents find schools a daunting place to be if they do not know anyone else. But it is also a good opportunity to meet other parents. Our school is very lucky to have a ‘parents room’ where you can meet for coffee and join classes such as yoga, Jewellery making, English etc.
*Teachers can often be bombarded by parents at the end of a day. Please try to make an appointment to see them rather than interrupting them on the line or in classroom.
*If you have any concerns about your child’s learning needs, please inform the teacher. Remember, every child learns at a different pace. They might find some things like sounds hard to learn but they will get there in their own time and they will receive support in school if they need it.
Our biggest tip for anyone whose child is starting school this year or in future, is to read to them and play with them. You don’t have to provide them with every toy in ‘Smyths’ catalogue. Something as simple as a box with an old mobile phone, a stick, a hat, a handbag, pair of shoes, can provide hours of fun as the children use their imagination.
Children learn so much through play, they learn how to talk, they learn social skills of turn taking etc.
Fine motor skills are very important to develop. They help a child write and open things. Practice cutting things with scissors, tearing things, popping bubble wrap, playing with playdough etc.
This is such an important stage of their lives and its one for both children and parents to enjoy.