The first day of school is very exciting, but it can also be scary for young students. As a parent, you want to help your child feel confident and ready for their first day of preschool or kindergarten. The good news is that you can take steps to help them prepare and ensure that starting or returning to school goes as smoothly as possible.
Visit School Before The First Day
One great way to reduce stress on the first day at international preschool or kindergarten is to visit the school with your child beforehand. During your visit, you can help your child familiarise themselves with the school campus, including their classroom, different activity areas, the lunch area, and the pick-up and drop-off points.
As you tour the campus, you can talk about the school day and what they will do in different parts of the school. This will help them understand what to expect when they go to school. It is also very helpful to go over what the process of dropping them off and picking them up will look like. Talk to your child about who will take them to school and pick them up and show them where they can wait at the end of the school day.
You can also introduce your child to their teacher before the first day. Having a familiar face at school will make it easier for them to adjust to their new school environment.
Gather Necessary School Items
Shopping for school supplies can be a fun way to help your child prepare for starting school. Children can help pick out their backpacks, any school clothes they may need, and classroom supplies, like notebooks or pencils. Let your child help to choose the school supplies that they like and discuss how they might use those supplies when they are in class.
Let them help set out everything that they need the night before the first day of school. This will get them prepared and excited for the day ahead, and ensure that the next morning runs smoothly.
Talk About Your Child’s Feelings
Talking about your child’s feelings before starting school will help them feel ready for the transition. It allows you to understand their feelings and allows them to process how their schedule is going to change.
You can discuss what school is like with your child so they know what to expect, and you can do activities that will mentally prepare them. These activities could include drawing and colouring practice at home, reading stories about school children, or scheduling playdates with other children that will be in their class. Make sure you give your child a lot of love and support so they know they can tell you about any worries.
Allow Time To Adjust
Even with plenty of preparation, the first day of school can still be daunting for small children. It may be weeks or even months before your child becomes fully accustomed to their new schedule and school environment. Be patient with your child throughout this period and continue to show them support as they get used to school life. Continued discussions at home about school and how they are feeling can help them process new changes and feel at ease.
Raintree Ensures a Smooth Transition
At Raintree, we provide a transition programme for our students to help ease the stress of returning to school after a long break. This ten-day programme allows our international pre-school children to gradually adjust to spending less time with family.
Parents can join their children in the classroom for the first few days, then stay nearby but outside the classroom for the next few days, and finally, stay on the school premises in case support is needed for the last few days. This programme allows extra time for students to settle into the school environment and feel fully confident in their new routines.
If you are concerned about how your child will transition to a new school schedule, feel free to speak to your child’s teacher or any of the Raintree International School staff. We can offer insights into how your child is doing while at school and advise you on good strategies for comforting and supporting them.