How to prepare for School from a Principal
How to prepare for School from a Principal
St John’s Lutheran Primary School in Bundaberg has just completed 12 months with their new Principal!
Chris Mallett is an ex-Bundy boy who has returned to town with a wealth of knowledge and heart full of enthusiasm. Chris says:
that school is a big step on the journey towards growing up and most children look forward to it. They are keen to make new friends, learn new things and feel like a ‘big kid’.
Chris has some ideas and suggestions he’d like to share on how you can help your child get ready for Prep while encouraging them to be the best and most confident person they can be.
Supporting their independence
To develop independence in children, we need to let them make mistakes and learn by them.
As parents we find this things to do. Try and:
- Practise with your child how to put on their socks and shoes
- Help them pack their bag. What will we need today?
- Encourage them to eat their food by themselves
Children start to develop the skills of manipulating materials with their fingers from an early age. The more experience and time children have in developing these skills, the more success they will experience in the future, especially in writing. Try and:
- Encourage threading, cutting, folding, play dough, squeezing and drawing to support this development
- Ensure they have the correct pencil hold/grip
- Encourage name writing in initial capital letter and then lower case letters. Please do not allow children to write their whole name in capital letters.
Literacy and Numeracy
Research shows that the development of literacy and numeracy skills in children is helped when parents involve them in everyday activities that encourage learning. Research also indicates that children who see their parents placing importance on behaviours that encourage literacy and numeracy, will be more willing to use these behaviours themselves. Here are some ideas for you to consider:
1. Activities such as visiting a friend’s house
- Talk about the visit and count down the days until the visit occurs (Literacy and Numeracy)
- What do we need to take with us? (Planning, Literacy)
- How are we going to get there? Look at the numbers on the letterboxes (Planning, Numeracy)
- Cook a treat to take with you (Numeracy)
2. Play time provides children with the opportunity to create, manipulate, think, explore and solve problems
- Give children time to play
- Allow time for playing alone and with others
- Provide children with the necessary items for play (Dress-ups, shoes, hats, a box or table with glue, scissors, wool, cardboard boxes, play dough)
- Take an interest in their play and ask questions – Tell me about the adventures you are having in the tree house? “How did you work that out?”
3. Reading to your children
- Read to your children on a daily basis, discussing with them what the story/book is about and when you finish reading, ask them to retell the story in their own words
- Limit screen time (TV, DVD, iPads, iPods etc)
Games allow children to improve a great number of mental and physical skills and usually bring with them a number of significant benefits that are not immediately noticeable. Children learn to take turns, to wait for their next turn, to understand winning is not always the most important outcome for a game, how to hone particular skills and how to strategise; e.g. memory games, puzzles, taking turn games (Snakes and Ladders), physical outdoor games like skipping and kicking a ball.
Resilience and problem solving
Having a sense of our own identity and being in control of our environment is an essential skill that has to be developed. Resilience in children develops over time as they feel safe to move to the next level of confidence.
When children are anxious or worried, they cannot focus on learning or the tasks they are involved in. If they don’t feel confident about how to cope with a situation, they are often afraid of the unknown. Children need to know we are there to support them and encourage them to problem solve or find a satisfactory answer.
Ways you can assist your child:
- Model behaviour that communicates confidence and optimism
- Praise your child’s accomplishments e.g. toilet training, calming self, talking clearly or creating something
- Encourage your child to try things and do things on his/her own with minimal adult help
- Use encouraging language to reinforce resilience when your child faces challenges: “I know you can do it”; Have a try”.
- Encourage problem solving
- Give your child comfort and encouragement in new/stressful situations, sometimes standing back but reassuring “I’m here!”
- Develop friendships with other children both older and younger than your child and allow them to play independently.
Parents can support children in feeling happy and confident at school by taking steps such as:
- Ensuring lunches and snacks are easy to unwrap
- Using shoes with Velcro fasteners until your child can manage more complicated fastenings. Did you know that learning to tie shoelaces is a high level cognitive skill?
- Labelling everything, including shoes and socks
- Putting an extra pair of socks and underwear in the bottom of the bag; accidents do happen and it reassures children knowing they have ‘back up’
- Making sure your child has sufficient sleep; add a weekend nap if you think it necessary
- Ask questions about your child’s day that requires some thought e.g. ‘What was the best thing about school today?’ or ‘What did you do in Music today?’
St John’s Lutheran Primary School seeks to promote a caring Christian atmosphere in a family environment that encourages both learning and development of the individual personality. The school recognises that students are more highly motivated to learn in an atmosphere of freedom within clearly defined boundaries.