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REMEMBER THE DAYS OF THE OLD SCHOOL YARD
First Day of School Advice
Member Name: lak11
First Day of School Advice
Advantages: A good start is important
Disadvantages: When I prepared my children for thier first day of school I would feel broody
It's a long time since I entered the school gates as a pupil although much of my life has been taken up with schools in various ways.
I remember my first day at nursery school and can remember at three years old being taken to see the infant school's headmistress on a pre-nursery visit. I recall feeling nervous on my first day at primary school.
Many things can help or hinder one's early years; small issues to adults may be huge to a child. Being in the 'wrong' class or having an overly strict teacher can give a child a poor start. I've witnessed children, whose parents thought they would take to school immediately, having to be dragged through the school gates after a week or so and some more reticent thrived.
A good start is important as is a kind reception class teacher. My eldest son's first teacher was a horror. Thankfully she only taught him for one term or he may have been home educated!
I tried to prepare my children, although I don't know whether their settling well at school was because of this or simply their dispositions. There have been good and bad times but generally they've all enjoyed school.
My children have left school although one is at university and another is a primary school teacher. The school links for me continue.
I have spent years helping in playgroups, nurseries and primary schools, both in voluntary and paid capacities. I've seen many children begin their first day at school.
One start of the school year remains memorable. My eldest was entering her second year of secondary school; my second child was beginning secondary school (different schools); my third was starting reception; baby sister was sixteen months old. It was a busy and horrendous time. My mother had spent weeks in hospital being extremely ill. Our summer had mainly consisted of hospital visiting. Mum had been a willing support system; one who would shop with us for school uniform and be relied upon to collect a grandchild from school.
Labelling school uniforms is a must but on the eve of my boys starting their big adventures I'd been hospital visiting when I realised labels hadn't been sewn on uniforms. I've always hated this job. Mum would normally have happily undertaken this task.
I was worn out physically and mentally and could have cried on arriving home and seeing the sewing box. And my son's secondary school insisted PE kit had the child's full name embroidered on shirts and specified the size of lettering. Hubby hadn't had his dinner. The children needed their beds. I was about to swear. Then the doorbell rang...my aunt (after visiting my mum) stood on the doorstep offering to sew on name tags. I dragged her through the doorway before she changed her mind! She embroidered the names onto black cloth then quickly and neatly sewed this onto the black rugby shirt. When the shirt was outgrown the cloth could be unpicked and sewn onto the new shirt.
This year my younger son is teaching year three (juniors). A big step for pupils and a big step for my son, having passed his NQT year and becoming a 'real' teacher. The term started well. His class are a delight. But I felt nervous for this teacher on his first day of term!
My son's fiancée is a reception teacher. Intake is staggered. Her first pupils were well prepared; many could count and had an idea of letters but her new ones this week are lacking in basic skills; some don't know how to paint. I remember helping in a year one class and having to show children how to get the paint from the colour block and apply to paper. My future daughter-in-law says during home visits she asked parents if the child painted at home. Many replied,
"No, painting is too messy!" Maybe, but my advice is put up with the mess; children learn through play and creativity.
I believe a child's confidence is boosted if they recognise their name when starting school, and know things such as their age, address, some letters and numbers. I don't think a child needs to be able to read when beginning school but being ready to read is a great confidence booster. If a child is used to books, crayons, pencils and puzzles, then, in my opinion, they'll be on their way to making a good start. But I also think even those lagging behind at the start will catch up. I've seen this happen. Having some skills, I feel, is mostly advantageous in terms of confidence.
Another help is if children have socialised, perhaps with others who will be at school, maybe from playgroup or toddler group. A friendly face is a tremendous boost for a child.
The parent often feels more nervous than the child on the first day at primary and secondary school, and even university!
I've always tried not to show my concerns and treated the big event as a pretty normal occurrence.
Especially in the first days of school I would remind them that I would be collecting them from school and that they should never leave school with anyone other than me, unless I'd already told them that a named person would be meeting them.
It's good if children have an idea where their school is in relation to home. Pre-school visits are necessary.
Infant children need to know where to put coats and lunch boxes.
When my children were at primary school not many of their peers walked to school. I feel, if possible, carers should walk children to school; this teaches road safety and is the best opportunity to communicate.
If my children were troubled over anything that happened during school all would be revealed on the walk home.
On walking to school we would count things we saw along the way, practise times tables and spellings.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL PUPILS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS
Summary: Be well prepared