Navigating the transition to school can be an unsettling time for both children and parents alike. There is the element of the unknown as well as the change in routine, environment and new people to make relationships with and build attachments to. This includes you as parents too!
At Bright Horizons, we work closely with our families and children in preparing for that next step and helping children to become as “Ready for School” as possible. Throughout their time within the nursery, we will support your child in developing a wide range of skills to help prepare them for a lifelong love of learning. This is through practical, first-hand opportunities and experiences, carefully tailored to meet individual needs of each and every child.
There are a lot of myths around what a child needs to be able to do before moving on to school. This includes being able to write, especially their name, count to 100, know all their phonics, and be able to name all shapes and colours (to name but a few).
In actual fact, some of the skills needed include pro social skills such as:
Not every child will be able to achieve all of these, and it is important to remember that every child is individual and unique. At Bright Horizons, we enable children to flourish to their own potential in a way that works for them.
Opportunities and experiences to promote these pro social skills will include:
All these good social skills may reduce stress in children when experiencing change, as they feel better equipped to deal with situations that are new and unknown to them. Children supported with their emotional well-being and self-regulation are prepared for transitions and show resilience, confidence and have a healthy self-esteem to take on new challenges.
Let’s not forget that we are also preparing you as parents for this transition. At Bright Horizons, you will receive lots of updates from your child’s Key Person and have information shared with you on a regular basis. The format for this when entering into school is vastly different and it is good to set those expectations early on.
If you’re going through the school transition for the first time, this might feel a little (or a lot) daunting, but children are more resilient than we give them credit for. As a parent visiting the school before starting, try to consider asking things like:
These are recommended and really do help a child with the transition to school. It helps to understand that the environment is different, start to understand where everything is such as toilets, the main hall, where they will have lunch, and the cloak room. They can meet new friends as well as their teacher, and maybe even the teaching assistant.
As parents, once your child has finished a visit or the first few days of school, we tend to “pump” them for information and fire lots of questions at them. Try to avoid this if you can. Often a lot is shared over dinner, snack or at bath time when they mention someone that they’ve played with or something someone said.
Practical preparation you as parents can support with
In the meanwhile, you might as well get a jump on ordering those name labels as you’ll be labelling absolutely everything, and mentally prepare yourself for the changes that are coming. Try to have a positive outlook on the next steps and prepare a list of any questions you may have for the school. This is an exciting new chapter for you as a family and we wish you every happiness on the journey ahead.