by Kathryn Baldrey-Chourio, Founder of Nana’s Manners
Not long til September now! It’s been a strange year to say the least, and if you’re reading this then it’s likely you’ve even more changes on the horizon. Starting nursery and school are milestones in every child’s life and whilst this year is certainly unique, for your child, walking into the classroom and starting this next chapter of their life, they won’t know any different. For them, the event will be as new, exciting and full of wonder as ever.
There are lots of practical hints and tips available to help you prepare for the big day in our e-booklet – available to download here. We wrote this as something to enjoy picking up and referring back to over the summer and beyond, and we hope you feel you get something else from it each time you go back to it. Our Handy Hints for Starting Nursery and School e-book is full of practical ideas, such as guiding your child to recognise their name by pointing out the first letter in signs you see and encouraging them to watch you write it in our Confidence Diary, available here. Pointing out their name on their clothing and lunchbox is great too. Their name belongs to them, and children feel a great sense of ownership and confidence when they spot it all by themselves!
THE FIRST DAY
There are so many emotions around the big first day. For some children, this may be the first time they have been part of a group of peers without you. 2020 has seen playgroups cancelled, soft plays close and it may be some time since your child has socialised with anyone outside of their family. Nursery nurses and teachers are very aware of this and will be placing an emphasis on social skills in September. Support your child as they begin to make new friends, though don’t worry if this takes a little time. Most children haven’t had to share for a while and I’m sure there’ll be some getting used to this at the start of the term!
Kathryn doing the school run, with social distancing measures in place.
All children start nursery and school from different backgrounds and at different stages of their development. Some may already have some recognition of numbers or letters, some none at all. Some may be raring to run through that door, others feeling anxious and scared to take those first steps. Every nursery, school and teacher will value your child’s wellbeing over any academic progress they bring into the classroom. Each child will have different interests, strengths and skill sets (just like adults) and value should be placed on all. As the saying often attributed to Einstein goes, ‘if every animal is judged by it’s ability to climb a tree, a fish will spend it’s whole life feeling stupid’. Every child has their own diamond waiting to shine and as parents and teachers, our job is to help them find it. I have always said, it’s not about us as adults knowing all the answers or making children think they should learn them. Rather it is about us teaching children to approach all problems with the right mind-set and attitude. None of us know all the answers, we just need to know confidently where and how to find them out.