School, here we come...

If you live in Scotland and your child is due to start school this year then you’ve probably been along to your local primary to register their details over the last couple of weeks. (I have to admit that I’m not exactly sure what the procedures are in the rest of the UK - please feel free to comment below and fill me in!). Starting school is a BIG thing, as much for mums and dads as for the little ones themselves and although it’s still quite a while until they’ll be donning brand new blazers and school bags, the task of preparing them for starting school will already be well underway . There is a much better understanding now of the importance of a smooth transition from nursery education to primary and schools and nurseries work really hard to ensure children get the best possible start. The old days when the first day of term would be the first time children had seen the school or met their teacher are well and truly gone. Every school is different but it’s much more likely now that a child will be allocated an older pupil as a Buddy to help show them the ropes, will visit the school during the summer term to spend time with their teacher and meet the other children in their class or be invited along to have a school lunch. Teachers may go out to nurseries to visit individual pupils and liaise with the early years staff who know them so well and pre-school children are often invited along to school concerts or other special events. During my time as a teacher and a Depute Head Teacher I saw many changes implemented in education (gosh, that makes me sound old!) but I am convinced that the time and effort put into transition programmes is undoubtedly worthwhile. Tears on the first day used to be par for the course - I can still remember the trauma myself! - but children now are starting school knowing where they are going, who their teacher will be, what their classroom looks like and what to expect. I’d love to hear about good examples of transition activities - what do you do in your school? What worked well for your child? Or if you’ve got a child starting school later this year what would be most helpful to you? Over the next few blogs I’ll look at some of the issues which parents might be concerned about and give some tips about preparing your child for starting school.

PS Tearful children are much more rare - I can’t say hand on heart that it works the same for parents …… don’t think there’s a cure for that one!

Elaine Kent