When my son was moving from pre-school to nursery, we had to attend a graduation ceremony of sorts for him at the time. I remember quite well that there was a resource person there to speak to the parents about what to expect in nursery school.
I also recall that the pre-school where all my kids have attended have this wonderful practice of preparing the kids for nursery, by allowing them to take responsibility for a lot of things, even at their young ages. Children are taught to do little tasks that will instil in them a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Now that you are preparing your child for nursery school, it’s not just about preparing the kids academically that’s important, there are a whole lot more things your child should be learning at this crucial time, to gain some level of independence.
Nursery/kindergarten is a bigger place, and the teachers/care givers will have more expectations from your child than when they were in pre-school. So, what are some of the things you need to start paying attention to, to help your child with the transition?
1. Dressing themselves
If your child is making the transition to nursery school soon, you’ll need to allow him to start dressing himself. No one is going to help your child pull down his pants to use the restroom in kindergarten. Ask yourself a few questions like, “Can my child tie his shoe laces? Can he undo and redo his buttons?” Let the practice begin now. We realize that he may not do the greatest job with this, but practice, they say, makes perfect.
2. Taking responsibility for their own things
Let your child start to take ownership and responsibility for her own things. Let her carry her backpack and lunch bag herself (buy age- appropriate backpack and lunch bag for your child). Let your child be responsible for getting her bag to and from school, only with your supervision. Don’t let her things be your sole responsibility. She’ll be responsible for all of this in nursery school. When you go out with your kids, let them carry their own stuff; you’ll be amazed at how much they can do at that age. Don’t be quick to rush to their rescue every time, let them learn to be responsible.
3. Following routines at home
If you haven’t already started setting up routines at home, you’ll need to. Having routines and time frames for everything helps the kids’ transition better to big school. Guide your child through getting ready for school, setting out clothes the night before, etc. Start now, as this will help when nursery school begins. It also helps you, as mom, not to have to do everything yourself.
4. Bringing the lunch bag out of the school bag at meal times
This is a skill necessary for nursery school; there’s minimal help for the kids there. Your child must be taught to bring out his lunch bag, set out his food to be eaten at meal times in school, and feed himself well. Don’t pack food in containers that your child won’t be able to open, or water bottles that he won’t be able to drink from on his own. Don’t buy things that are too sophisticated for his age.
These small things parents take for granted, don’t come as easily to our kids. Let them practise opening everything they’ll use to pack their food, inserting their straws into a juice pack, opening a bottled drink, etc.
5. Being prepared mentally
Talk to your kids about appropriate behaviour; what they’ll expect from their new class, etc. Don’t overdo the talk, though. You want them prepared, not nervous about the new school. Let them see it as something to look forward to, not something to be scared of.
More often than not, children adjust more easily than we are willing to give them credit for. No need for you, mom, to be anxious; your child will do just great, with the right dose of encouragement from you.
This certainly should put your mind at ease.