One of the most important occasions in a child’s life is getting ready for their first time in school. There is that separation anxiety that bothers both the parent and the child, not to mention those crying episodes and unexpected tantrums. Often, it seems like there are a lot of hurdles to overcome just to take those small steps out of the door, on to the school bus, and into the school’s entrance door.
Children often start school in kindergarten at the age of five, although some kids begin schooling as early as three or four years of age. By this time, kids have already acquired basic communication skills. These language skills are typically the result of interactions between the child and their parents, caregivers, educators, and peers. Talk, Play, and Read with Me Mommy by Jo Ann Gramlich is an excellent book that guides parents, caregivers and educators, and their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers through the early stages of language development. In fact, the book is an excellent resource to help children enhance their speech and language skills and get them school ready!!
It is normal for a child to feel anxious about taking those steps toward school life. Facing something unknown and out of their comfort zone is enough to shake their confidence a bit. A child’s uncertainty stems from being unsure of what to expect from their teacher, the kind of teacher they will be having, and the kind of school environment they will be immersed in.
Schooling for kids of all ages should be a positive experience. Below are some valuable tips to help get children equipped and prepared for the first-time experience at school.
Explore the school and the classroom before school starts
One way to get a child school-ready is to get to know the school first before it opens, preferably before the enrollment period. This will allow both the child and the parent to see the school environment before they decide to enroll there. This is also a chance for the child to find out what the classrooms, the other school building and facilities, and the playground looks like. Touring the school will help alleviate the child’s fear of the unknown of what school is all about. It’s also an opportunity for parents and their kids to bond.
Setting the proper mood and expectation
Kids listen to their parent’s advice on what to expect when going to school. So, if a parent described going to school as something enjoyable, then the child would certainly develop the expectation that going to school is fun and exciting. Parents should spend some time with their child telling them the benefits of going to school to set the right mood and expectations. Since it may be your child’s first time in a formal educational setting, parents should focus on gearing up their child emotionally so they experience positive outcomes on the first day of school. Some of the best ways to do this are to tell their child that it’s normal to feel nervous and let them know that you will always be there for them.
Getting children’s language-ready
Parents need to have an understanding that getting their child ready for school begins as early as birth. Caregivers and parents can learn how to implement speech and language strategies to help enhance their children’s language skills during the early years. Although children acquire language at a different rate due to individual differences, your child can naturally learn and develop various communication skills from birth to age five. This development can take place within a language rich environment in conjunction with using specific techniques that will help stimulate and strengthen your child’s language growth. This all begins with the understanding that children under the age of five experience the majority of their learning opportunities during regular daily routines and playtime. Interacting and playing during daily routines and in the neighborhood community with other children are important factors to help increase their social, emotional, and communication skills in order to get them ready for school.