The start of a new school year can be an anxious time for both children and parents – especially if your child is starting school or care for the first time. To help ease the anxiety, we have asked our team to share their first day words of advice.
First day of school or care words of advice from our team at Educational Experience
It’s all about preparation, the more organised you are the less stress there is on everyone.
- Little things like having school uniforms or clothes ready, bags and lunches packed the night before help to ease the morning madness.
- Perhaps you could do a trial run of the time it takes to get from your home to your child’s new school or early learning centre. Allow extra time for traffic or other incidentals. This ensures you and your child do not arrive at the gate frazzled or late.
- Invest in a fabric marker or permanent marker. These can be used to label clothes, lunch boxes, hats and jumpers (especially useful if you are in a hurry and do not have time to fuss with labels). Labelling your child’s belongings ensures items accidentally left behind in the playground can be identified and safely returned.
- Pack a spare pair of underwear and shorts/skirt in a zip lock bag. Sometimes young children get engrossed in their classwork or are afraid to ask their teacher to go to the toilet and accidents happen. This way, children have spare clothes to change into – without the embarrassment of being sent to the office to borrow clothes, and the soiled clothes can be safely brought back home.
- Children learn through play - and play can be messy work, so think about the clothes you are sending your child to their early learning centre in – perhaps not their Sunday best.
School or centre requirements
Every school and early education centre is different. Some schools or centres have specific policies or requirements. It is best to find out what these are before your child starts the year, rather than finding out when you have not followed them.
- Confirm with your child’s school or centre that they have a copy of your child’s completed medical forms. This may include immunisation history, asthma or allergy plans, which may need to be signed by your family doctor. Centres or schools usually require any medication, puffers or EpiPens to be left with the educator, at the front office or to be signed in and out each day with your child.
- Find out whether your child’s centre or school has a healthy eating policy and only send food that complies. If your child is already upset about being separated from you and away from home, having their packet of chips or chocolate treat taken away can be even more distressing for them.
- Follow school or centre sun smart policies. Make sure your child has a hat, sometimes this is specified as broadbrim, or they will need to have a “lender hat”, which many children don’t like or worse be unable to play out in the sun. Many early learning centre policies state that children’s shoulders must be covered, if this is the case don’t send children in singlets or shift dresses.
- If your child has a rest period at the centre and normally has a special toy he/she needs to get to sleep, send it with their things and let staff know it's there.
- Teachers and carers are always happy to speak at length about your child’s progress and development. However, drop off and pick up times are the busiest times of the day. There are many parents and vehicles about and educators need to supervise to ensure the safety of the children, carry out programming or prepare resources for the day. It is better to make an appointment with the teacher/room leader so they can give you their full attention.
Always remember, you are giving your child one of the best gifts “an education” so don’t feel guilty about leaving them.
- Be positive and happy about your child’s first day, greet your child’s carer/teacher warmly and with confidence that they will take good care of your little one. Children follow their parent’s example, your positivity will alleviate any anxiousness or fear they may have about their new environment.
- Try not to stay too long at your child’s school, centre or classroom when you drop your child off in the morning, especially if your child is upset. Whilst the urge to stay with your child is understandable, standing at the school gate or outside their room, watching through the window, will only upset your child more.
- Equally, try not to be late picking your child up in the afternoon, it is very distressing for the child to be left standing there waiting for their parents to arrive after all their friends have gone home for the day.
- Encourage your children to be nice and always remember their manners when talking to teaching staff and school mates – this advice will hopefully set up good practices for the rest of their lives.
Most importantly, have your camera ready to take photos of their first day!