Friday, 5 April 2013

Getting Set for Prep - Tips for Starting Preschool

My nephews are heading off to Prep next year.  It’s not only an emotional time for us as parents, but it’s also a major change for kids.  It’s exciting and stressful all at the same time! 

According to Prep attendance data, most families in Queensland send their child to Prep - even though it's not compulsory.  Children can enter Prep the year they turn five - as long as their birthday falls before June 30.  Prep is 5 days a week and for some kids it will be the first time they have been apart from their parents, adding nerves to the experience.  But never fear!  We have found some easy tips to help you make the transition into prep enjoyable.

Encourage your child to be independent by helping them get used to:

• putting on and doing up his or her shoes

• eating and drinking without help (opening lunchboxes, wrapping and  unwrapping school lunches and drinking from drink bottles)

• going to the toilet independently

• using playground equipment safely

• carrying his or her own bag

• identifying his or her own belongings

Work with your child to develop his or her communication skills. Help your child to:

• make his or her own needs known

• use appropriate greetings

Familiarise your child with the school environment and routine by:

• attending an orientation program or open day so you can meet your child’s teacher and see the classroom

• showing your child where to put his or her things, such as a school bag and hat

• visiting the school, if possible, when other children are there so that your child can get used to the number of children, the playground and the movement of children around school grounds

• checking with your pre-Prep provider (kindy, childcare) about how they can help children make a smooth transition to school

• encourage children to understand that teachers are at school to help  

Is 4.5 too early to start formal education in a School setting?  Lucas will not be attending Prep until after his 5th birthday as it falls due in December - I'm pretty happy about that.  I'm a believer that kids (especially boys) need to be emotionally as well as developmentally ready.  What do you think?

- Angela

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