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Starting "Big School" can be very daunting, both for the student as well as the parents, especially if it's their first child. These 9 steps have been created and designed to help your child start school with confidence as they transition into this new journey.

Read to them

Reading to them helps develops oral language and develops a love of books. Anything from bedtime story books or any time of day books are great. Even reading things road signs, recipes or the mail. Anytime you are reading something let them know about it. It shows how useful and fun being able to read is.

Practising their fine motor skills

Try activities such as drawing, painting, using scissors to cut out pictures from magazines, play dough, making mud pies, cooking biscuits, or games like pick up sticks.

Following two-step instructions

Practicing at home two-step instructions will help your child learn to listen carefully to what is asked of them and will give them a great start to school.

Examples include:

  • Please brush your teeth and get a book to read
  • Put your toy away and bring me a book

Packing their bag and opening their lunch box by themselves

This allows the child to feel independent at lunch time and fruit break. Make your child responsible for packing their bag for preschool or even just while visiting family like grandma. It is fun to pack lunch and have a picnic together to practise opening and closing your lunch box. 

Take your child with you when you go to buy their lunch box and have them try different ones at the shop to see which one works best. Also, if you are sending packaged food that is difficult to open it helps if you make a small cut in the bag to help get them started.

Counting and one-to-one correspondence

Count as you go up/down stairs, set the table and count out how many knives and forks you need, count how long it takes for the traffic lights to change, or board games like Trouble that involve rolling a dice and counting. Uno is great for recognising numbers and colours. Count anything and everything. If your child starts to over or under count get them to touch each object as they count to promote one-to-one correspondence.

Writing their name in lowercase letters

It is ideal if you can teach your child to write their name using a capital for the initial letter and lower case letters to complete their name, for example, Gemma.

While this isn’t a compulsory skill for starting school, it helps children to feel independent if they can write their name. Fun ways to practise include tracing their name, painting their name, or making their name out of playdough. 

​Toileting properly

Make sure your child can use the toilet confidently on their own. This helps them feel independent. Important skills include wiping their own bottom, pulling up their pants themselves, remembering to push the button and wash hands. A tip for boys - Take them to a public toilet so they are familiar with using a urinal.

Play games that develop gross motor skills

Games are not just good for developing gross motor skills they develop social skills as well. There are many ways help develop these skills. Things like going for a bike ride, balancing on brick walls, going to the park and playing on the playground, kicking a ball around or just playing catch with a ball.

Talking to them about what to expect

Have lots of discussions about what your child should expect at school. Keep the language positive:

  • You will learn lots of new things
  • You can play with your friends
  • Your teacher is going to have lots of fun things for you to do
  • You won’t know everything straight away but that’s okay everyone will be learning together
  • Help build resilience by not always letting them win at games.

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