SouthOfMetro.com | 5 Tips to Help Your Pre-Schooler Settle Into a New School | For families with young kids that have recently moved to a new location, one of the many issues they will face is the transition of their children to a new school.
Transferring to a new school, whether at the start or in the middle of an academic year, can be difficult for any child. Younger kids often have more difficulties with the transition since they thrive on familiarity and routines. When they are placed in a new environment, which is the school, they will take a longer time to adapt and grow accustomed to their teachers, classmates, and classroom.
Until the child is fully comfortable with the strange new environment and his new life, he may have difficulties learning inside the classroom and making friends. Bringing him to school will possibly be a daily struggle as well.
Helping Your Child With the Academic Transition Process
If you and your family have just relocated and you are worried that your pre-schooler will have a hard time settling into his new school, follow the tips below to help him experience a less stressful and problematic transition:
- Find the right school
Whether you moved at the start or in the middle of the academic year, aim to choose the best school for your pre-schooler.
Look at the different schools in or near your neighbourhood. Visit each one with your child and let him see and explore the classroom, campus, and facilities.
A nursery with child-friendly facilities would be the best option for your little one. He will feel more comfortable faster in a place that promotes learning through play and other fun ways. Toddler-friendly bathrooms and playgrounds are other features worth looking for in your child’s future school.
Bring your child as you visit the schools you are considering so that you will have an idea of which one he likes best and feels the most comfortable in. Watch him as he talks to teachers and other staff and with students, if there are any.
If he is at ease with speaking to others, and is even friendly with them, it is highly likely you have already found the right pre-school for him.Hold practice runs
Toddlers tend to become more anxious when they are facing something unknown. Help your child overcome his worries and be ready to go to school by taking him on trial runs.
Bring your child to his new school one or two more times before classes start. Show him the routes you will take as you drive or walk him to school. While you are at the campus or centre, let him play or explore the area for a while.
Let your child meet his teacher if possible as well. Ask the teacher to talk to him about the things they will learn and the fun activities they will do inside and outside the classroom. If you can, get a copy of the class schedule so that you can go over this with your little one.
Also, try to hold practice runs for the usual activities that will take place once school starts. These can include preparing snacks for recess and putting his backpack down on a designated place when he arrives home each day.
- Maintain familiar routines
Another way you can help your child reduce his anxieties about his new school is to observe the same routine he had before.
Set the same bedtimes and waking-up times. If he eats a particular breakfast for a specific day, create the same menu even before school starts. If you eat ice cream once school is out on Fridays, continue this routine.
If you have a special way to say goodbye to your child as he enters the classroom (a code word, a quick hug, etc.), do the same thing when he goes to school again.
Keep in mind that structure and familiarity provide comfort and help kids adjust to change. Because of this, maintain as many familiar practices and routines as you can.
- Prepare everything your child needs for the first day of school
Boost your child’s confidence while settling into a new environment by making sure he has everything he needs for school.
Go shopping for all the essential school supplies. Allow your cto hild to choose his backpack, lunchbox, pencil box, shoes, and other things he needs for school. By doing so, you will enable him to feel that he has control over some things.
Make sure his bag and everything he will wear for the first day of school are ready the night before. If you can, prepare his snack for recess so that you or your child will only need to pack it in the lunchbox the next day.
Lastly, ensure your child enjoys a good dinner and sleeps well the night before the start of school.
- Be ready to stay in school during the first week
Bring your child to school and fetch him after class every day on time, especially during the first week of classes.
If you are allowed to do so, stay with your child for an hour or two each morning at the new school and gradually reduce this time as the first week goes on. Interact with the teachers and other students so that your child can see that he is in a friendly, safe place.
Be patient with your little one, particularly if he shows signs of separation anxiety. Always stay calm and show him that you are confident and optimistic that he will be happy in his new school. Children are fond of imitating their parents. Eventually, your child will follow your example and be more relaxed and cheerful whenever he is in school.
Finally, always talk to your child. Encourage him to talk to about what they did and to share his feelings. Listen to him intently and give words of support. Let him know that you will always be there for him, no matter how long it takes him to settle successfully into his new school.
Alan Williamson is the Chief Education Officer at Kings’ Education, a premium school brand in Dubai which leads a fantastic group of premium UK curriculum schools, including Child’s Play Nursery. As well as being passionate about teaching and learning, Alan has been actively involved in school leadership related to Special Educational Needs.
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