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Alexander Residence: Tips on starting primary school Guest Post by @Needaphone

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tips on starting primary school Guest Post by @Needaphone

Miss L starts school in September.  I don't know where the time is going, the 4 and a bit years since she was born, the months since we applied to primary schools, the weeks of the summer holiday, the sleeps left until the big day.  I asked my very witty twitter friend Claire, who is a teaching assistant, for her tips. Claire blogs at Ninja Killer Cat, and tweets as @needaphone.  My teaching experience is secondary, so it's brilliant to read a primary school expert's perspective.

Over to Claire:

Working in an infant school is great, being their inspiration means the world to me, I say this because at the term I received many gifts, but it wasn't the wine or the chocolate that touched me, but the cards, one in particular that had this sentiment from a parent. "... comes home speaking of you fondly, thank you for making her Year 1 a magical time".  I know that this child will make a happy transition into year 2 with absolutely no problems. 
Here are a few tips to help the transition from reception to year one. Pre Year one is know as EYFS ( Early Year foundation Stage) with a huge emphasis on play and free flow between the classes. There are structured activities within this but it is more relaxed.

So my top tips from moving from reception to year one are:

1. Remind them that when they move from nursery to reception they had less play than when they did at nursery.

2. If they have siblings explain that they will learning things to teach them, and even yourself as parents. We all like to learn new things don't we?

3. Factor in treats and rewards to counteract the fact that there will be less playing. This doesn't have to cost you any money, even a trip to the park can help.

4. If it's of real concern, have a word with the new class teacher before they start, sometimes they may have be split up from their friends. This is less likely to happen in Year 1 but never the less it might, this is more of an issue in the transition from Infants to Juniors.

4. Don't forget they have just had six weeks off, that is enough to confuse and disorientate the adults let alone the children.

5. Remind them that their play times will be an opportunity to let off steam. I know that at my school time we have 'Golden Time ' where some sort of treat comes into play.

6. Routine is key, try and keep to a routine during the holidays. They may go to bed later during the holidays, but week by week gradually bring this to their usual bed time, that they will have when at school. Also always  make sure that they have had breakfast before they go to school, and not on the way to school.  It is hard sometimes when you have a line of children behind you making you look like 'the old woman who lived in a shoe'

6. Encourage the development of characters, they are keen to be individuals, but need the safety net of the herd of the classroom too!

7. Any child can find it hard to make the transition. I am not going to say its just boys that have these problems. It is the step up in concentrating that can also be an issue, so play games that help with with this situation again from snap - junior monopoly. Perhaps have a toy that will help them go to school and be waiting for them when you pick them up.

8. Accept it is going to me a little tough for the first few weeks and don't forget the teacher/ teacher assistant is just as likely to be stressed (despite it being their job).

9. Make them part of the process.  I can't stress how important this is.  Let them within reason, choose their school shoes, bag etc. It really does make them feel grown up, though at the same time it has to be fun, they are only children after all.

10.  Don't mourn them going into year one , I know its hard seeing them grow up. Try and focus on what joys and achievements this next stage will bring.

Thanks so much to Claire for the really helpful tips.  I can totally relate to staff being disorientated too.  I stood back from quizzing Miss L's new teacher after our visit, remembering how totally overwhelming meeting 25 new and very needy faces for the first time is for a teacher. I just smiled and wished her a lovely summer.  We still need a few more trips into town for uniform bits, and Miss L will be leading that, even if she does refuse to let me in the changing room like last time.  I'm holding on tight to tip number 10 too!

Anyone else about to face this milestone?  Any tips to add?  Please make Claire feel welcome, and go follow her on twitter!

My top teacher tips for primary to secondary transition are coming soon.  As always, guest posts are very welcome, contact me.

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At 3 August 2011 at 20:56 , Anonymous wendy (savvymum4autism ) said...

Brilliant post hopefully it will help with the transition .
Also I used a social story to help with the transition and took pictures of the school, route , surroundings etc


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