When the time arrives to prepare your son for an Early Learning Centre there is often a mixture of excitement and nerves. Many parents fear that their son will develop separation anxiety, or not enjoy their time away from home. These are all very normal emotions for parents which will ease over time.
Evidence has proven that children who attend a quality early childhood program in the year before starting school are up to 40 percent ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3 in primary school. It’s important to ease your son into this new environment and routine by preparing him in the months leading up.
Here are five tips to help prepare your son for an Early Learning Centre:
1. Socialise with other children
Attending an Early Learning Centre can be a big adjustment for boys who have only been used to communicating with immediate family members. Ease your son into this new period of his life by taking him to the local playground more regularly or by increasing play dates with other children.
2. Find out who your son’s teacher is
Ask your son’s school for a photo of his new teacher and talk to him about the person by name. This is a great way of introducing the teacher and familiarising him with what they look like. You could also consider contacting the teacher or school to ask if you can organise a brief visit to introduce your son to the teacher and classroom prior to commencing.
3. Read together
Select similar themed books focused around making new friends or visiting different environments. Reading books together will help your son explore emotions and understand that changes in life are normal. His new teacher may have some book recommendations or you could ask your local library.
4. Keep a consistent routine
This may be something you already do with your son; however, it is critical to instil a regular and consistent routine in the lead up to starting at an Early Learning Centre. Research suggests that when the family has an established routine and normality is present in the child’s life, it aids stability during times of change or stress.
5. Don’t let him see your anxieties
It’s normal to feel anxious in the lead up to his first day at an Early Learning Centre, however it’s important that you don’t let your son see your anxieties or notice change in your temperament. When you take him to an Early Learning Centre, don’t linger or reveal that you are sad when you say goodbye, as this may unsettle him and cause him to be wary of his new environment.
If you follow these tips and the advice of educators on how to prepare your son for starting at an Early Learning Centre, his experience should be smooth and most importantly, exciting. Another handy tip is to give your son a comfort item for his first day and ask him to look after it for you until you pick him up — this will reassure him that you are returning.
Every boy is different, so try to be patient. Before you know it, your son will feel comfortable in his new school and routine. Place your trust in the hands of the dedicated teachers and staff to help introduce your son to life at school.
If you are interested in learning more about Christ Church Grammar School’s Early Learning Community (ELC), watch this video to discover how our boys our nurtured and prepared for their life-long learning journey.