Chances are if you’re reading this your children are or they have been in one of our centres. And, it may be that they have moved into Kindergarten or your little one is just starting out. Whatever the case, I hope this article helps. I realise we’re now well into the school year but I thought I would take a moment to reflect – now that the initial rush and dust has settled.
The beginning of the school year is exciting, sometimes nerve-racking. Regardless of these feelings or the intensity of them, your child beginning school for the first time is definitely something to be celebrated. It is an individual experience too and we recognise that some children struggle while others thrive and our hope is that this transition is as hassle-free as possible.
I myself was one of those children who struggled from day one. But, I overcame and like many of you who also struggled, I have grown into an adult who is filled with resilience and a love for learning that didn’t necessarily begin when I walked through the school gates. Through the determination of my mother and some incredible educators, my love for learning was nurtured and although at times I struggled and developed coping mechanisms I did thrive.
For your little ones, everything is new and big. A new environment, new adults, teachers and a big School. It’s all intimidating for young hearts and minds. It is unfamiliar and there are new routines to be embraced and new ideas to be had, plus the additional pressure of adapting to new friend groups. For both parents and children, this time can be challenging. But there is excitement and things to be celebrated like being welcomed into a new community. Your children will come home and they will be buzzing and wanting to tell you the names of the people they met during the day and the faces that will slowly become familiar.
Being ready for school, preparing your children to take this first big step is multi-faceted. It isn’t just letters, numbers, pictures and projects, although they are important. A positive disposition towards learning from the beginning is key to fostering their independence and helping them to grow into confident young people who develop the skill of adaptation and problem-solving. Independence and a moving from the nest into the big world!
Some of the skills we incorporate into our days at Little Miracles include; developing social and emotional skills and effective communication skills, growing their confidence to try new things plus being part of a group learning experience.
At Little Miracles, we have specific programs for the transition from our centres into school. Flying Start is specifically for the older children and runs in term 3 & 4 in the year prior to your child entering school. The activities and experiences have been carefully designed to build on the play-based learning your child has already been doing and expand them in a more structured format that is more like what they will experience in Kindergarten.
The program encompasses the following;
- Being a member of a group learning experience being led by an educator.
- Games with a higher level of structure and rules to follow.
- Social problem-solving abilities.
- Cognitive problem solving and early numeracy skills.
- Being independent in looking after themselves and their belongings
- Literacy enhancing activities that will scaffold children towards conventional literacy (involves phonics and early reader books)
- Fine motor skill activities that encourage children’s writing and creating abilities.
By choosing to enrol at Little Miracles, you really are equipping your child to be the most prepared they can be for school. Our children develop literacy skills that speak for themselves with over 90% of children reading at level 1 or above when they start school and these records are available to be passed onto your child’s teacher as they start school.
As a reminder also, even if you already have children at school, try not to expect history to repeat itself. Let this new school year be a season of milestones, whether it is your last child or your first child they will all have different experiences and sharing the joy of this time with them is so incredibly special.
Parents, we believe in you, we value you and we honour you. We are in this with you and we are committed to the beautiful growth of your little one. Thank you for being in this with us. Together, we will blaze trails and will see our little ones soar to new heights. And, when they do make sure you celebrate their wins….. it’s all worth it.
Susanna Bateman #littlemiraclescommunity