An Early Years pupil using play equipment

British Council

When your child starts school, as parents you are filled with pride and enthusiasm – your baby is now a child starting out on their educational adventure. It is exciting to prepare your child's backpack and uniform, but it is natural to also feel anxious about your child walking into their classroom to start this new stage of their life... in English! 
The Early Years team want to reassure parents that they will be feeling much more anxiety than their children – 'for children it is much easier to adapt to this new stage', says Anne-Marie Rackham, Deputy Head of Early years.

What can I do to prepare my child for school?

Ms Rackham provides the following advice for all students, not just for the little ones:
  • Speak to your child very positively about their new school, the new friends they are going to make and everything they are going to do and learn. If you have time, you can read them some books about starting school.
  • Help your child to be independent, giving them the responsibility of preparing for their first day of school, helping to organise their backpack, snacks and uniform from the first day.
  • When you drop off your child, say good bye in the fastest way possible – extending the time can make children nervous.
  • A good nights' sleep is very important. Your child must get used to going to bed early.
  • Get your child up with plenty of time for them to stretch, dress, and have time for breakfast. A good breakfast is essential to start the day well.
  • It is important to help your child become autonomous – when they can do something for themselves, you should not do it for them.
  • Identify all of your child's belongings with their name and surname and send a bag to the school containing a change of clothes, in case there they have an accident (polo, jersey, pants, underwear, socks and disposable wet wipes).
  • Early Years children have a daily siesta period. If your child wants to bring a stuffed animal to keep them company, this is not a problem – they will be very well received.

How can I help my child at home?

At home, encourage them to share what they are learning at school. Ask what songs are singing in class and look them up on the Internet, then sit with your child and sing them together. It doesn't matter if you don't speak English, you'll be certain to enjoy the shared experience with your child. 

See also