Last week, I was invited by the school of my son to talk in front of the new set of parents on how to ease the transition from small to big school. Not that our family has mastered it but moving to grade one is a milestone and should be made memorable for our kids. Here are six quick tips:
- Help him prepare emotionally.
Weeks before the start of class, enthusiastically talk to your child about his big new school. Excite him about the fun of having long walks at the corridor, chances of meeting new people, seeing a huge field every day, and learning with a lot of other kids (from 12 to about 40 students per classroom)!
- Listen more.
Expect to hear new characters and events from his stories—nice (and naughty) classmates, reason of unfinished snacks, race mates from the classroom to the drop-off gate. His tone of narration would signal if he is coping well or not; do not resist to keep in touch with the adviser if there are persistent stressful signs.
- Initiate his independence.
Most small schools would allow parents to be inside the classroom and would let them take a peek of their child while studying even if this means weeks or months of “guarding and staring” at the doorstep. Well, this is a huge no-no in the big school; we can’t even drop by to check if our child is okay during recess! Believe that he can do it with the support of his teachers.
- Learn to trust.
Give him the assurance that his teachers are going to be like his Daddy and Mama while in school. But really, the most terrifying part comes from the fact that we will leave our child from people we don’t know (yet) and they will be in charge of our kids daily! Try to soothe your worries and have a peace of mind that our children would be in caring hands.
- Enjoy the process.
There will be days that it feels like a roller coaster ride—from resisting to follow his new routine to giving brilliant reasons not to study. But just keep it going and have fun with the moment; he won’t be grade one forever.
- Know that he can.
Because you made him ready for this. There are a lot of options to do home school or perhaps continue with his small school curriculum but here you are, taking the step and preparing for that special day.
- And last, don’t forget to take his picture on the first day of school!