Whether it is your child’s first or last year of primary school, the first day of term 1 is always exciting. With a whole year ahead for learning new things, making new friends and growing another year older. Our teachers oversee the education side of development, Families and Nannies get to support the success as well as failures that come along with studies.
This is the inspiration behind today’s blog post, with our top ten tips for back to school, these are just some of the ways we can start the school year off supporting our little learners as well as their teachers.
Tip 1: Enjoy the experience with a smile
Your children continue to grow every day, don’t miss out on those important opportunities to be involved in your child’s education. Whether this is seeing them off at the classroom on their first day rather than then front gate, attending assembly when their class presents an item, acknowledging their hard work learning and asking about their day. Remember your smile and they’ll want to share these experiences with you, there’s nothing better than your child running up excited to tell you all about their day, they may even ask you about yours.
Tip 2: Have back-ups!
Do yourself a favour, do not keep a tally of how many times a jumper or hat gets lost, these things will get lost repeatedly that’s where having back-ups comes in handy. While children are encouraged to be responsible for their belongings, things will get lost from time to time, and often will turn up again. However, a missing hat could mean no outdoor play with the sun safe standards of “no hat, no play” having a back-up is essential in this case, just as much so for jumpers in winter and water bottles for hydration. When it comes to stationary, they will be used and need replacing frequently throughout the school year. To avoid multiple shopping trips, stock up, have your child set up their resource station/area so that they know where these are kept and can replace their own stationary as needed.
Tip 3: Teach your child how to put their shoes on
Not only is this an essential skill for children to have before starting school, it also supports their independence if they are familiar with this routine. Whether your child has Velcro or Lace-Up school shoes, they will undo repeatedly throughout the school day (even with double knots).
Tip 4: Pack meals separately
Crunch n Sip, Morning Tea and Lunch are the three meal breaks to cover throughout the school day. Most schools now have assigned tubs for storing the different snack breaks throughout the day, though this will also help your child if they do stay in their bag as they can identify each meal break themselves, hopefully avoiding lunch being eaten at morning tea time. Ensure your child has a full water bottle as well and that they know how to refill it themselves to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Tip 5: Label everything
Having your child’s name on their possessions such as school hats, jumpers, drink bottles and lunch boxes are a must to ensure you have a chance of having these items returned when they eventually end up missing from their bag at the end of the day.
Tip 6: Make your child’s bag stand out
Many schools have their own school bag each child is to use, make your child’s bag stand out for easy recognition. Whether this is a simple key ring or ribbon tied to the zipper, you will appreciate this when you arrive at pick up time and get lost in a sea of green/blue bags all looking the same. This will also support your child in being able to identify their own bag at meals, unpacking and packing away time. Encourage your child to choose their own decorative key chain to give them a sense of identity and ownership, their smile makes the hour shopping trip to find the “perfect” bag accessory worth it 100%.
Tip 7: Say hello to your school staff
Your child’s teacher plays the main role in their education; however, it takes a village to raise a child. When walking around the school grounds you may notice other teachers, the principal, librarian, even the gardener smile or say hello to your child and vice versa. Take a moment to say hello, introduce yourself and smile in passing as you see them throughout the school year. The office staff are the ones you call with enquiries and who call you if your child is unwell, saying hello every now and then and learning their names can go a long way in helping your child see that they are in a supportive environment.
Tip 8: Schedule a time for updates with your child’s teacher
Teachers get asked daily for updates on various children’s development and progress reports. This can be time consuming and ineffective as they may not be prepared to discuss your child’s progress. With up to 30+ children in their class, that is a lot of children to keep track of, this means a lot of paperwork to keep on top of their educational progress. Rather than putting teachers on the spot, we encourage families to prepare a list of questions ahead of your assigned Parent/Teacher Meeting held usually on a termly basis. If you have any enquiries in the meantime, you can always ask your child’s teacher if they have availability to schedule time for a brief discussion, this will often show better responses to enquiries and undivided attention.
Tip 9: Celebrate child birthdays while being health conscious
Many schools are now very health conscious when it comes to birthday and holiday celebrations, requesting parents not to bring cakes, lollies or treats. Many may question this, though when you stop and think about it, there may be a week where multiple children have birthdays and almost every child wants to share Easter eggs or candy canes with their friends. This can turn a small treat into a mountain of sugar for our little ones. Rather than sending in “treats” we recommend a small inexpensive gift for your child’s class and/or friends such as fun erasers, stamps, stickers or everyone’s favourite… bubbles!
Tip 10: Acknowledge success as well as failure
Often, we will praise when a child comes home with an award or a sticker on their homework saying “good job” though it is rare that children will share when they didn’t do so well. Children will often see failure as final, it is in our power to support them to develop a growth mindset where failure isn’t the end, rather a learning step that shows they tried. Acknowledging both success and failure, re-worded to attempts, will support children in having a healthy growth mindset surrounding their education. Of course, we want our children to succeed, but it is important for all of us to acknowledge we do not always get things right first go. This is part of life and life goes on, we continue to try and that is what we want to teach our children.
Have any tips of your own? Share them in the comments below, we would love to hear them.