The First DAY
It is important that you establish a good routine early. Check that all items are ready for the morning – uniform, lunch, bag. Bags must be large enough to hold the largest book/folder and lunch box. Do all of this in a calm fashion – don’t have your child over-excited or anxious going to bed. Give plenty of time in the morning for washing, dressing and eating a good breakfast. It is important that your child arrives at school on time as children can find it very intimidating to walk into a class already in progress.
On the big day, if you are feeling upset, don’t show it. Leave your child with the teacher and tell your child you will be back at the appropriate time to collect him/her. If your child is upset, trust the teacher. The teacher is very experienced and knows how to comfort an anxious child. It is important that you arrive on time to collect your child from school. Children can become upset if they see other children being collected and feel they are being left behind.
Settling in to School Life
In school your child will meet many other children. There will be the familiar faces of friends from their neighbourhood as well as former classmates from pre-school. There will also be new faces.
Due to the increased integration of children with special needs into mainstream schools, there may be children in the class with special needs. There are also likely to be children from other countries and/or cultures in their new class, as Ireland is becoming increasingly multi-cultural.
Your child will take some time to familiarise him/herself with all these new faces but, after a time, you will find that your child will make new friends.
It takes time for children to adapt to school life and routine. Don’t expect too much too soon. Talk to them about what happened at school and allow them to respond in their own way.
If you ask “what did you learn today?” you will most likely be told “nothing”. Most of the work at infant level is activity based and children are not conscious of “learning” as adults understand it. If, however, you asked “what happened?”, “what did you do?”, “did you sing?”, “did you draw?”, you will have more success.
Your child will be tired coming home from school and occasionally may sleep for an hour or so when they come home. It is important to set a routine of a quiet time together and early to bed.
If you feel your child is worried about something school related, talk to the class teacher.