Starting School Tips

​A child’s ability to settle into school is influenced by many things, in particular the experiences she/he has had during Prep years. Much stress is laid on the importance of a child having been accepted and loved, having had a wide range of stimulating experiences, having had plenty of opportunities to mix with other adults and children, and to have been talked to and read to daily. While the real preparation takes place over a period of years, there are a few suggestions which might help parents and children face going to school with confidence. If you are positive in your attitudes – explaining for example, that school is a happy place where friends will be, your child should feel happy and relaxed about going to school. It is important that teachers are portrayed as friends and that school is not used as a threat. This means that comments such as “wait until you get to school – the teachers will straighten you out!” should be avoided. Going to school is a significant occasion, but don’t overstress its importance. Some children get such a build-up to starting school that they become unnecessarily concerned and fearful; others become so excited they develop unrealistic expectations and may then be disappointed. Make sure your child is familiar with the way in which he/she will be taken to and from school. Whether he/she will walk, catch the bus or be taken by car. It is necessary for the child to know and understand the procedures involved. This is important, particularly in the first few weeks of school until it becomes part of the daily routine. Instruct your child in the meaning of what the Safety House Program is all about, and not to go with strangers. Find and point out Safety signs on front fences along the route to school.Some parents are concerned about whether or not there are certain skills a child should have learnt before starting school. Should she/he have learnt to count or recognise the letters of the alphabet? While certain skills such as recognising colours, counting to 10, being able to recognise own name, being able to manage scissors and pencils may be desirable, you shouldn’t put any pressure on your child to achieve all these kinds of skills. It is more important that a child comes to school curious, with an interest in the world around her/him, and with a willingness to try things out, rather than having mastered certain basic skills. Initial Difficulties: Don’t be over-concerned if there is some initial difficulty. Most children take going to school in their stride, but you may have some small problems at the beginning. Once the initial excitement has worn off, many children have no difficulty accepting the fact that they are expected to go to school, all day, each school day. Starting school is often tiring for a 5-6 year old so see that your child is getting plenty of sleep.

You will be curious to know what is going on at school, but unfortunately while you may be keen to question, your child may not be anxious to talk. Continuous questioning of a tired child won’t help to establish good feelings about school. Try to restrain yourself, and wait until your child wants to tell about school.

Self-esteem is all about the image we have of our own person, the way we think of ourselves with all the characteristics we acknowledge and those we deny. The beliefs and attitudes we have about ourselves determine what we think we are, what we do, and what we become.

By the time a child begins at school his/her self concept is quite well formed and reactions to learning, to school success and failure, and to the physical, social and emotional climate of the classroom will be determined by the beliefs and attitudes he/she has about himself/herself.

Self-esteem is the key to success in many activities. Most of our self-concepts are formed in the first five years of life. Right from birth a child receives messages of acceptance or rejection from touches, smiles, words, body language. How the child perceives himself/herself grows through these early experiences and what happens later can confirm or deny these feelings.

Building self-esteem is an on-going process and the atmosphere in the home can set the tone for a child’s educational progress.

Children learn from those they love and trust. The way we are treated from the time we are born influences how we feel about ourselves. The biggest influence is the family. Children develop self-esteem through both verbal and non-verbal messages from their parents. Praise, encouragement, support, telling the child “I love you”, is giving clear messages of care and acceptance.

People need encouragement to help them feel good. Facial expression, gestures, touches; show a child he/she is acceptable, lovable, worthy. Words are heard together with the tone of voice. Appreciation and encouragement build good feelings and these help a child towards successful relationships and achievements.

At St Eugene’s our staff are very conscious of the self-esteem, the individual needs of each child. Our school environment is centred on the acceptance of all our children – they acknowledge that each of us is a distinct, unique person, made so by God.