Little is starting school in September. (See how calmly I typed that?) She is already excited about it and can’t wait to follow in Big’s footsteps. She currently attends the local pre-school each morning, where she has two best friends and lots of fun. She is confident and gregarious and I’m thinking she’ll find the transition to school OK, but I’ve been thinking about how I can help her get ready for her next step. I have no checklist of ‘Things Your Child Should Be Able To Do When They Start School’ in mind – that’s not how I think at all. But there are certain things it would be useful if she’d practised or skills she’d tried, before September rolls around.
Thinking ahead gives us plenty of time to play around with the idea of school. I thought I’d share some thoughts with you on a ‘Starting School’ theme as we go along – and hope you’ll offer some comments and ideas too. (And if you are homeschooling I hope you’ll still find some of the later topics relevant.)
Launching the Starting School topic is ‘School Dinners’.
Eating lunch somewhere unfamilar, helped by unfamilar adults can be a big deal. So how about some trial runs before the big day? We started off by going shopping for a special lunchbag and drinks bottle, chosen by Little herself. Then I let Little play with them – getting used to opening and closing them and having a pretend school lunch. This gives lots of opportunity to practice what might happen at school. We chatted about what she might like to eat and who she can ask to help her peel her banana. (Please note how many slices of cake she packed for herself.) If your child is going to be having dinners provided by the school they might benefit from practice at carrying a tray.
After Easter Little’s pre-school is running a Lunch Club one day a week, where the children can stay half an hour longer than usual had have lunch. This is a perfect first step, in a familar environment. If your own pre-school doesn’t offer a lunch club, maybe you could suggest one? Alternatively you could pair up with a friend and take turns hosting your own lunchclub at eachothers house.
Even if your child is used to having meals at a nursery this kind of roleplay is valuable. Get them used to the bag, bottles, containers they will be using at school. Can they open their own yoghurt pot? Unwrap the clingfilm on their sandwiches? You’d hate them to go hungry simply because they couldn’t get at their food.
So, those are my thoughts around school dinners. Do you have any other suggestions – I’d love you to leave a comment. And if there are any other topics you’d like me to cover, please let me know and I’ll do a post so we can swap ideas.