Is your little one ready for their first day at school?

August has started, and September will be here before you know it, but the summer holidays are the ideal time to ensure that your child is prepared for a major new stage in their life.


Former primary teacher Catherine Lynch of PlanBee is here to help you through this challenging transition


Moving into a new classroom or new school can be scary and take a bit of getting used to for even the most confident child.


For lots of children, moving into Reception will be their first time in a school environment.


But whether they are moving from a private nursery, from being at home full-time or being in a nursery class attached to a school, they will have to get used to new adults, peers, routines, expectations and the larger school setting. And that’s a big ask for a little one.


Many of the usual transition events had to be cancelled during Covid lockdown, but most primary schools will have reinstated their usual processes for welcoming children to their school.


Hopefully, the school you’ve chosen for your child will have carried out a home visit. These are a great opportunity for the adults working with the Reception children, the children themselves and their parents to get to know one another in an environment where the child is more likely to feel confident.


A transition visit may also have taken place. First, the Reception teacher visits the child in their current nursery setting and meets their current keyworker.


Then the new Reception children visit their new classroom for a few hours. Both occasions give the children and staff the opportunity to learn about each other.


The visit to the Reception class lets the children learn where their coat peg is, where the toilets are, what toys there are and who is in their class. 


If your child isn’t starting in Reception until September 2023, you will have plenty of time to liaise with the school to set up either a home or transition visit.


But if ‘big school’ is looming this September,  what can you do to help your child copy positively with this educational rite of passage?


          1.    Be positive about this transition; your child will pick up on your worries, so adopting an upbeat attitude to this exciting stage in their life is key.


          2.    Listen to your child, reassure them and try to understand what lies at the heart of their worry. Reassure them that you will support them, and don’t try to dismiss their concerns as unimportant or unfounded. 


          3.    Arrange playdates with other children that will be in their class; lots of parents use social media to create these connections.


By half-term, your little one should be starting to settle and enjoying the challenges of this new stage in their life. Good luck!


Catherine Lynch is a former primary school teacher, now working for lesson-planning and resources experts PlanBee