These five top tips will take you beyond pencils, water bottles and school bags to help get your child excited about primary school and ready to learn.
As you and your child prepare the things they will need for primary school, talk about what they are looking forward to, and how exciting it’s going to be! Most kids will be full of ideas and questions, so talk about the things they’ll be doing – learning to read, learning to count, art, playing games, making friends and so on. Let your child know you are excited that they are growing up and starting primary school, and how proud of them you are!
Talk about it
It’s natural if your child has a few worries about starting primary school. Talk with them about how they are feeling, and reassure them that other kids are probably feeling the same way. Then try to address the specific thing that’s worrying them. For example, if they are worried about making friends, find opportunities for them to meet other children, such as visiting family friends or the local playground. Reading books about going to primary school can also be helpful.
Find out what is expected
If you haven’t had any contact with the education system for a while, you might be wondering whether you should be teaching your child any specific skills before they begin primary school. The best way to find out is to talk to the school, or check your state education department website – many have ‘starting primary school’ booklets or factsheets for parents.
Schools and teachers are going to be an important part of your child’s life for many years. When talking to your child, be positive about learning and school, even if you didn’t have good experiences at school yourself. If you’ve already met your child’s teacher, talk about how friendly and helpful they were. Even if you don’t know who your child’s teacher will be, you can talk about teachers in general – how they are kind and helpful, how they want the best for their students, and how much your child is going to enjoy learning from them.
Get in the zone
Sitting down with your child and reading a book or watching a TV show about going to primary school is a great way to get them in the zone. There are lots available, so ask friends, talk to the school, visit the library or search the internet for suggestions. There’s also a great list at the Kids Matter website.