Starting Primary School

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    Even if your child has been at nursery or playgroup for a while, it can be a big change in both your daily lives when they start primary school.

    Preparing your child for primary school.

    Tell your child what to expect from school but don't oversell it. Most children like school and find it fun, but talking about how fantastic it is and how they'll always have lots of lovely children to play with will not stand them in good stead when some horrid kid pushes them out of the way to grab the last princess/pirate dressing-up costume.

    Be positive, but also warn them gently that they may get tired and if they have any problems or feel sad they should tell their teacher.

    Visit the school beforehand.

    Most schools run frequent taster open days where you can explore the school and meet staff in an informal atmosphere.  
    If your child hasn't been to the school's nursery and doesn't have siblings at the school, make sure he or she sees the school before starting so they know what to expect.

    Many schools do set up 'taster' sessions for the new September intake at the end of the summer term: don't worry, they won't start grading your child's reading level or anything; it's just a little look-and-play in the classroom, so your child doesn't have to walk into a totally unfamiliar room on their very first day.

    Rehearse the school routine.

    Run through the school routine. If you've been collecting your child from a playgroup at lunchtime, tell them that now they're more grown-up they'll be staying at school with the other children for the afternoon.

    This can be a shock for some children who may get tired and tearful after lunch. You can reassure them that lots of children feel tired - and remind them of this when they refuse to go to bed at night.

    As for the learning-things bit, do say they'll do lots of games to help them learn. You should be aware that some children will get upset that other kids in their class can read and they can't. Encourage lots of reading time at home and visits to the library.

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    Starting Primary School