So Little Sir is officially beginning his new school in Reception next Monday! This time last year we made the decision that, as he is summer born, we would keep him at home for another year. It made sense at the time! He was socially and emotionally behind the other children in his pre school and I didn’t want him to struggle. However, a year later, things have changed dramatically. He is so engaged with the world and desperate to learn, that we made the decision to send him to school. Easy stuff? Well, yes for us it has been, but that is because his new school has been so great at letting us know important information. It got me to thinking that there are a number of things that, as a parent, we really wish a new school would tell us before the first morning.
The Morning Routine
Every school differs as to what they do in the morning. Is it a soft start where the kids go straight into classrooms, or do you have to wait on the playground? Do you wait near the classroom door or on a main playground? What happens at going in time – is it a whistle, bell or do you just watch for the doors to open? Is there a difference between Reception, KS1 or KS2 routines? As parents we know that if we are worried about the start, then our children will be too!
Breaks and Lunchtime
Pretty much every Primary School I have worked in has allowed children to bring in a snack for break time, but this can differ widely as to what is allowed or encouraged. Some schools will only allow fruit or vegetables, whereas others will be happy with crackers or rice cakes. Every primary school is keen to be a healthy school, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that sweets, chocolates or cakes will not be allowed! However, kids want to be the same as their friends, so it’s always good to know what is encouraged at break time. As for lunchtime, parents want to know how to order school lunches, whether they are free or paid for, how often they need to order them and from whom. Some schools let children order on the day, some you have to order a week in advance and some run over a three week period.
Although a slightly contentious subject, the majority of schools do send homework home for nearly all year groups. Parents really want to know in advance how often this will be, when it will be due back in and what the school expectations are for it. Is is just reading and maths, or is it topic work or a project over a period of time? How will it come home? Will it be in a book or in a file or, increasingly, online?
End Of The Day Routine
Similar to the morning routine, parents want to know what will happen at the end of the day. What time does the school day end and where do parents pick up their children. Do they have to wait on the playground for the children to be brought out, or do they wait by the classroom door? Where is the playground? Sometimes there are two or more playgrounds to wait on, so which one is the correct one?
Even though, after the first day or so, all of these questions will have been answered, it is so reassuring to parents if the new school lets them know about all these before the first day. Little Sir’s new school has been absolutely brilliant and has answered all of the questions above and more! His new teacher even took the time to call me to see if there was anything else I wanted to know.
Schools always want to build great relationships with the parents. Understanding that parents are often as worried as their children and taking the time to reassure them and answer all of their questions is a really great way to get that relationship off to a flying start!
Are there any questions you wish your child’s school had answered before they began?