Moving from preschool to primary school will be an exciting time for your child. But there can be bumps in the road that take away from the experience.
Thankfully, there are things you can do as a parent to make the transition much smoother for your child, and to give them a far more pleasant time as they start an important new chapter in their education.
You can prepare your child for primary school with activities designed to achieve three things:
- Getting them to feel at ease about moving to primary school
- Working on the skills they’ll need to navigate through the school day
- Building up excitement for getting started at primary school
Naturally, your child may be feeling a little uneasy about the idea of entering a new environment. It is extremely important for you to help them anticipate these changes, and understand that there’s nothing to be afraid of and to calm their worries.
You can start off by explaining to them what primary school is like. For example, start with the obvious; the comparison of class size in Ilham Child Care as compared to the class size in their primary school. This could be a culture shock to them, especially if they are an introvert, or are not used to large groups of people.
You can also share with them about some of the exciting activities that they will take part in primary school, or even share with them about how they will have scheduled recess time to take a break from lessons.
At Ilham Child Care, our teachers have also been training the students in their verbal communication skills. For instance, encouraging them to speak up with confidence and how to get permission for some of the things they may want to do.
It’s also very helpful to attend an open day and take a tour of the school, so your child can feel a little familiar with the environment. But if that’s not possible for you or our current situation with COVID-19, a virtual tour can make a difference too.
Also, you can assure your child that their teachers will be available to help with anything they need, and that there will be many chances for them to make new friends.
Working on Skills
Primary school will be different from preschool in many ways, so you’ll have to help your child develop skills to adapt. You can start on a timetable with them, getting them comfortable with numbers and sharpening their maths abilities a little. Likewise, you can also get an assessment book so you can both practise together.
Our K2 Ilhamites undergo a complimentary Primary 1 Preparatory Course that allows them to gain experience by being exposed to certain primary school topics, for both circular or madrasah. This course acts as a bridge between their early childhood education, and primary school education.
Not only that, through this programme, our K2 Ilhamites are also equipped with adaptive skills such as how to protect their private areas, what is considered a safe touch and non safe touch, how to communicate with others and how to accommodate in different situations. These skills will help them to have a smooth transition from Ilham Child Care to primary school.
Another helpful tip is teaching them to handle their money, and how they’ll be using it to buy food. To stimulate how recess will be like in primary school, our teachers will do this with our K2 students during lunch time at Ilham Child Care. It is advisable to let them keep practising and experiencing how to purchase food, especially during their final days at Ilham Child Care, leading up to Primary 1.
Lastly, during their preschool days, your child likely didn’t have much homework to keep up with. It certainly won’t be as much as what they’ll get in primary school. So get them used to setting aside time to go through schoolwork at home. Wherever you can, get involved and enthusiastic about the work and scheduling so your child can pick up on that cue.
Building Up Excitement
Beyond just preparing them for primary school, let’s get your child excited! An easy way to do this is letting them know that they’ll be getting new gear and materials for school. Then, when the time comes to shop for it, you can let them choose what they want. That includes the bag, pencil case and other forms of stationery.
It can also help stir some excitement if you talk about your own experiences in primary school and what you enjoyed the most.
The shift to primary school can come with a little anxiety, but there are things you can do as a parent to help guard against that. The tips listed above are a fantastic place to start, and most importantly, embrace the journey together with your little one.