The first term of the new school year is an exciting time for children, as they make friends, learn new things and widen their horizons. But it can also be a challenging time for all the family. Leanne Galloway, Head of the Early Years Centre at Harrow Bangkok, answers parents’ common questions to help ensure little learners get the best from school.
It can be a struggle for children to get used to waking up early after the school holidays, any tips?
Children thrive from routine and it’s even more important when they start school. Children will be physically and mentally tired after a day at school, and to help themconcentrate and get the best from school, they need an established sleep routine so they wake up feeling refreshed. When they come home,give them time to relax, and make sure that weekends aren’t so busy that they start another school week tired out.
Some parents may find changes in their children’s behaviour once they’ve started school (ie more tears and tantrums) – is that normal?
This is completely normal. I see many children who find it hard to manage their feelings once they are greeted by parents and some who find ‘home time’ really difficult. This is often because they are tired, adjusting to new routines, or still a little unsettled. Often, children don’t have the vocabulary to express themselves and because they are frustrated they become upset. Help your child to learn how to name their feelings so they can seek help when they need it.
Why do children come home from school saying they loved it, but the next day they don’t want to go?
It can take a long time for a child to realise that going to school is something you need to do every working day. Rest assured this is very common for children – I see a lot of parents who are worried about leaving their child upset but most children settle quickly. It’s best if the transition is brief; when you say goodbye to your child leave straight awayso they can settle sooner. The staff here in the EYC are wonderful at knowing how to comfort our children and help them feelhappy.
It can feel like half your child’s things are in lost property – how can they become responsible for their possessions?
Promote independence and responsibility for their things – if they carrytheir own belongings to school and put them in the right places, they are more likely to remember where they have put them and remember to take them home.
What is the right balance of after school activities, socialising and homework for younger children?
School is very tiring for children of any age; they have busy days which require a lot of mental and physical energy. In the Early Years, Reception children are able to attend a maximum of two after school clubs per week. We believe this is enough for a child of this age. In terms of homework, our main focus is that the children read with their parents as much as possible. Socialising is really important, too. In the Early Years, a huge focus in placed upon a child’s personal, social and emotional development and play dates are an important part of this. Children benefit hugely from being immersed in play and exploration and what better way to do this than to spend time with friends being active and adventurous. Children will learn how to share, co-operate and how to empathise as they spend time learning how to get along with friends.
What can parents do to support their child’s learning at home?
Two main things – interacting with your child (talking and listening), and establishing routines and expectations. So immerse them in language and conversation. Talk to them about what you are doing, where you are going, what you might see and how it makes them feel. Children need to be equipped with the correct language to express themselves. Pay attention to your child’s interests and use this to support their learning in school. Talk to your child about their day at school and things they have found interesting. Please take the time to share stories with your child. Read to them – giving your child a love of reading will help them so much when they are learning to read.
It’s also important to establish expectations and routines with your child. Encourage your child to be independent and to enjoy this. Help your child to build up physical stamina through walking and exercise. Allow them to learn how to dress themselves and feed themselves.All these things will help your child thrive at school.
Credits:– Article: Leanne Galloway, Head of the Early Years Centre at Harrow Bangkok
Harrow Bangkok is a leading British curriculum day and boarding school for children aged between 18 months and 18 years. Due to demand, we are opening a new Reception class in January 2017 and we are accepting new admissions. To find out more, and sign up for an Open House Event, visit www.harrowschool.ac.th;