From the Head of Early Years
School readiness has been a buzz for so many years as naturally, parents want to prepare for every milestone in their children’s lives. Just as we painstakingly waited and prepared for 9 months before our children were born, preparing them for school is just as important.This past week, I had the privilege to see many parents and their children experience this rite of passage. Hand in hand, parents and children walked through the Nest doors, some with anxiety from being separated for the first time, but many with enthusiasm and excitement for what lies ahead. There were less tears and more smiles in the Nest and we thank you for all the support you have provided.And with the jitters of ‘first week’ behind us, the next question now is, how we can support our children in this journey of early years education. It takes more than buying their bags, shoes or their uniform to be ‘school ready’ and remembering that children come with pre-set skills from home which teachers can build on as the year progresses.Here are essential ways parents can help support their children at school:① Commit to regular attendance and be on time for school unless illness or other emergencies prevent it.Children need to know the value of learning and regular attendance sends a clear message that school is important. It takes 3 days for children to ‘catch up’ on learning for every day of absence. Bringing your children to school on time is also essential as it mitigates children’s anxieties of feeling left out as activities are already taking place. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a widely accepted social anxiety that is defined as ‘a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing’ (Wikipedia) and can also affect our very young. We understand that holidays and appointments are inevitable so please try to schedule them around school holidays or breaks.② Read with your child at least 20 minutes a day.The importance of reading cannot be underestimated as it provides a myriad of benefits to the child’s learning. Not only does it support literacy skills but also helps them gain a wider understanding of the world around them. More importantly, it is another way for you to bond with your children, thereby boosting emotional development.
③ Nourish your children's physical needs.Just as we ensure that we have sufficient petrol in our car, we need to ensure that children come to school ready to learn. This includes a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast.④ Teach them independence.A little independence goes a long way for our little ones. Having them tidy up after themselves or prepare for school encourages them that they too are making contributions to their everyday lives as well as developing their core muscle skills, an important aspect of early years.⑤ Stay in contact with your children's teachers.Ongoing communication is essential between home and school and there are various avenues that we facilitate this such as TChat, Email, Class Week Ahead and personal contact.This allows parents to become part of our Wellington family and enjoy events such as our informative parent briefings; celebration assemblies that showcase children’s talents; and participate in the wider community of events such as the Christmas bazaar and Summer Fair.
⑦ Reach out if you need help, we are here to support you.I have always considered parents as partners as we share the same goal of providing the best education for our children. Let’s work together and make this year another memorable one!
Children with involved parents are more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school.
The most accurate predictors of student achievement in school are not family income or social status, but the extent to which the family creates a home environment that encourages learning, communicates high yet reasonable expectations for the child’s achievement, and becomes involved in the child’s education at school.References:1 Henderson, A.T., and K.L. Mapp. 2002. A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.2 National PTA. 2000. Building Successful Partnerships: A Guide for Developing Parent and Family Involvement Programs. Bloomington, Indiana: National Education Service, 11–12.