Starting primary school is a huge step for both children and their parents. There is often a lot of worry that a child will struggle on their own, or concerns that because they can’t yet read or write, they will be behind in class, among many others.
In this article, we’re taking a look at the types of products that can support children in the weeks leading up to their first day of school.
Dealing with Anxiety
With school comes a big change in routine, and familiarising children with this through role play or stories can help with anxiety. It also gives children a chance to voice their worries and discuss them with parents.
With one or two teachers to a class of around 30 children, it will make life a lot easier if children can dress themselves and use the toilet on their own. Products that encourage them to practise the skills needed for this can build their confidence – e.g. laces to tie, or an app to teach them the steps involved in self-care activities.
Pre-schoolers are still developing their social skills so won’t always find it easy to take turns and share with others; however, this is a really important skill for them when making friends at their new school. Simple games can encourage children to take turns while large play sets (such as a toy kitchen) can be a good opportunity for children to play together and learn social skills.
Behaving in Class
Young children are naturally fidgety and aren’t expected to have long attention spans (particularly during a boring task) but this can be developed with toys and apps that require focus, such as jigsaw puzzles and construction.
It is also important that children are able to listen to the teacher and follow their instructions. Listening skills can be practised with storytelling, so products which support this (like puppets and interactive books) can help. They can practise following instructions with simple games, like card matching.
Maths & English Skills
Parents often feel pressured to get their child writing and doing maths before they start school, but if children aren’t ready, it isn’t helpful to push them, particularly as they will learn what they need from the teacher.
Before starting school, children need foundational skills to be able to learn in class. Writing is one of the most key skills but it is also a culmination of a number of other abilities; children need the core strength to sit at a table, the hand and arm control to move the pencil (known as gross and fine motor skills), and the strength in their fingers to grip the pencil correctly (this is the tripod grasp). The gross motor skills can be developed through active play (e.g. riding a trike), which strengthens the large muscles and coordination. Fine motor skills can be improved with activities like building with blocks, modelling dough, and threading beads.