Countdown to Starting School

Boy with book on head against school doodle background

Have a little one starting school next year?

Read our tips for helping you and your child prepare for this exciting new adventure.

Start getting into a routine
The school day can seem very long for Preppies, with much more time spent listening and concentrating than in Pre-Prep. They will need a good night’s sleep (aim for 11 to 12 hours), a decent breakfast and healthy snacks and lunch to help them get through their school day. Now is the time to establish early bedtimes and practice getting your child up at the time they will need to rise on a school day.

Prepare them mentally and emotionally

  1. Check off the days to school on a calendar with your child and count the number of sleeps until their big day.
  2. Talk to your child about their expectations – their excitement and their concerns. Be positive and encouraging.
  3. Read books about starting school, eg ‘Starting School’ by Janet and Allen Ahlberg or ‘I Am Too Absolutely Small For School’ by Lauren Child.
  4. Arrange play dates with other children who are starting school with your child
  5. Practice putting on school uniform
  6. Ensure they can go to the toilet independently in their new clothes.

Label everything
This includes uniforms, shoes, bags, lunch boxes, drinks bottles, hats – everything.

Visit the school
Practice your daily journey. Show them where they will enter and where you will pick them up. Check your travel time.

Play with the school bag
Help develop your child’s independence. Start using the lunch box. Practice using the school bag, so your Preppie is used to carrying it.

Confirm school start and end times
Prep start and end times may differ from the rest of the school. Ensure you know where to drop off and pick up your child and what to do should you be late – put school contact numbers into your phone.

On the big day

  1. Ensure your child has gone to bed early the night before. Have uniform, hat and bag ready.
  2. Include emergency spare underwear/clothes and a plastic bag in your child’s school bag in case of accidents.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and extra time for travel – school traffic is always busiest on the first day of school.
  4. Start with a good breakfast and pack a healthy lunch and snack for morning tea. Put an ice block in with your child’s lunch to keep things cool. Don’t forget a water bottle.
  5. Make sure you apply sunscreen.
  6. Accompany your child to their classroom, introduce yourself to the teacher, see where your child is sitting, be positive and enthusiastic. Hug your child, tell them they are going to have a fantastic day and you can’t wait to hear all about it when you collect them in the afternoon, kiss them goodbye and LEAVE. Some children will get upset and experience separation anxiety, but it is important not to linger and make the situation more difficult.
  7. Don’t forget your camera!

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