It is that time of year when parents are thinking about getting their children ready for starting school. There are lots of ways that you can help your child to prepare – here are some helpful tips and hints to guide you.
First and foremost, plenty of sleep is important to your child’s mental, emotional and physical development. A good bedtime schedule will help your child to be more alert and able to learn during the day. Perhaps encourage a bedtime ritual for your child by giving them a nice warm bath and a bedtime story. This will help to train your child’s brain and body clock into these routines. The bedtime story also really helps to instill a love of books and imagination for your child.
Reading is a central part of your child’s literacy development and as a class teacher, I see a greater difference in this area of development of the children who read at home as well as school. You can help with your child’s reading development by visiting the library or book shops and inviting your child to choose a favourite book. It may be beneficial to see what your local library has to offer over summer, as most of the local libraries have a summer reading program, where children are awarded prizes for reading each of the six books that they choose. It’s a great way to introduce your child to new books and also to meet other families at the library.
At home you can use different strategies to help your child to deeply understand their book by:
Decoding – looking for familiar sounds in the letters of the word. For example in the word dog, you have three sounds d.o.g.
Comprehension – Asking questions to check that your child understands the meaning of the text. For example, you could ask questions such as – Why did the dragon feel unhappy? (what can we find in the text that tells us this?) or – How do you think George knew that Grandma disliked him?
Once back at school, your child will likely receive weekly homework. This is a great opportunity for you to see what your child has been doing in class that week as the homework typically links to this. In terms of times table and spelling homework, a good way to learn these is to include them into your daily routine by learning them in the car or on your walk to school. You could make up a song to help your child to remember them using sound rhythm. We use actions in class when learning our times tables because the physical movement helps with the mental recall of them.
For Topic, Numeracy or Literacy homework, similar to a bedtime routine, it would be beneficial to have a homework routine by setting up a homework area in your house, minimising distractions within the area, schedule a regular homework time and motivate and positively praise your child for their efforts.
Hopefully these hints and tips will help to guide your child into a smooth and happy transition for heading back to school.