We really want newly arrived students at Coruña British School to feel as comfortable as possible.
Starting a new school can be a difficult task. To avoid problems settling in we have devised a list of 10 tips, that will perhaps make the change of adjusting to a new school a bit easier for the little one at home. Following this advice also means that together as a family you can learn and have fun in everyday home life.
Are you up for the challenge?
1) Let’s Count Counting can and should be fun for little ones. We can practise counting with number songs or simply through play by counting the things found in everyday life.
– How many grapes are there on the plate?
– How many floors did we climb in the lift?
– Shall we have a race? After the count of one, two, three…
Do you realise how many times a day it is possible to practise the numbers without even knowing!
2) Social Skills
School is a community, much like the society we live in. For this reason it is very important to acquire social skills in order to integrate in the best possible way, and of course, to make friends. For example, do you know how to wait your turn? Follow the rules of a game or learn, lose and win in a sporting fashion? These group skills will make integrating into school life much easier.
How can we practise before school? We suggest the park as your testing ground. You must wait your turn for the swing and when playing with a ball with other children there are sure to be rules. Every afternoon of play can be a moment for fun and at the same time serve as an experience to learn new social skills and an opportunity for young ones to communicate with others, just as they will at school.
3) Expert advise
Pacey (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) has created some tips to help children at school. Take a look!!
4) Lets chat!
Speaking is good. Students are better prepared for school if they communicate and express their needs, their feelings…If they are used to speaking and not hiding things, they are likely to be less shy if they need to speak out in the case of an SOS. They should be talkative enough to say, for example, teacher, “I don’t get it, can you help me?”
You can practise at home by talking about any subject, at any time of the day, encourage your child to greet politely, to ask for things in shops, newsagents or grocery stores.
5) I need the toilet and have to blow my nose
Teaching your child to go to the toilet is perhaps one of the most complicated tasks and at the same time one of the most important. Be patient. It will take them time and they will wet themselves many, many times before you can finally say farewell to the nappy. Bit by bit they will learn to ask for the toilet in time, they should know how to clean themselves and wash their hands.
Another everyday life skill that will help your child at school is by knowing how to blow their nose, perhaps with just a little help.
Telling the teacher if they feel unwell is another important skill that should be learnt bit by bit. Although as parents you should also know if they are ill (if they have tummy ache, a fever, have bumped themselves, stepped in something or twisted an ankle, etc.)
6) Dexterity and strength in their little fingers
Writing takes more strength than we believe. As adults we do it so frequently that we don’t even notice. Their first strokes however, can cost the earth. Part of the success of your child in the first stages of writing can be found in the strength and dexterity of their fingers.
One way they can achieve agile fingers is to practise with kitchen utensils (for example by eating using only the cutlery), cutting with scissors (remember that for safety reasons they should be blunt scissors), helping them to plant seeds or bulbs in a pot by using a spoon for digging…
All of these activities serve to gain coordination and strength in their hands. By doing so, when they start school, moving a pencil to an exact point won’t be such a challenge.
At home they can practise with a notebook and coloured pens, with paintbrushes….there are no limits, learning to write can become a family game, try using a stick and writing in the sand on the beach. Be warned though, you will have to write very, very quickly so that the wave in the distance doesn’t erase your name 😉
7) What is your name?
And speaking of names, does your child recognise their name when they see it written down? Learning to write it can take time but the first stage is to recognise the strokes that make up their name. Telling their own name apart from others on the coat peg or locker can be very useful at school.
Play the name game at home. In this way they will learn the letters that make up their own name, it will be fun for your child. What? How do we play? Very easy, make their name using magnet letters on the front of the fridge, write it on the household chore timetable, make it visible on the door of their bedroom or just inform them that in fact that picture embroidered lovingly by grandma on their bedroom wall is actually their name. You can even invent a game whereby their name is the treasure and they have to hunt throughout the house to find it.
8) Shall we play school?
If we already play at being doctors, firemen, shop owners…Why not pretend that we are at school?
Someone has to take the role of teacher and the rest students. Parents, grandparents, other siblings should play together as though you were at school. We can sit on the rug or around a table. At school we do the same depending on the activity, some students on a rug others sat on a chair. Let your child be the teacher for a while, you will soon discover that they like giving you chores 🙂
9) I can dress myself
Dressing and undressing alone allows students to be more independent and believe us it will certainly be an advantage for whole family when it comes to waking up early and arriving on time.
To put on your uniform without help, or with less adult assistance, helps children to take notice of small details like fact that the labels in garments go at the back and once worn should not be seen, else its on inside out.
By placing a jacket on the floor, open and with the neck faced in the correct direction, they will learn to put it on easily, with the correct arm in each sleeve. Beware!! Don’t forget to explain that this method only applies to clean and dry floors. Prepare yourselves for them proudly showing their cousins to do the same in the muddy puddles of the garden 😉
To make putting shoes on a little easier we recommend Velcro. If they are laced, it may be a little too much to take in at this stage. Lets not over complicate things further. Learning is something best taken step by step.
Buttons can also cause problems. Avoid them when possible with regard to their clothing at this early stage. They will have plenty of time to learn how to do and undo buttons.
10) Simon says…
We are certain you have played this game before at home “Simon says …? Did you know by playing this game at home your children will learn to follow the rules set by their teacher? For example, “Simon says: sit down”, “Simon says take off your shoes and put them back on again”, “Simon says wash your hands and dry them without wetting the floor”.
As you can see, learning everyday tasks can make life easier and be fun at the same time, it doesn’t need to be a bore. You only have to turn it into a game and then… just like magic… it stops being hard work.