Starting

We encourage children to pre-enrol at Flanshaw Road School so that the school can predict future staffing and resourcing needs. All children on this roll receive a letter inviting them and their caregivers to visit the school prior to enrolment. This is also a time to meet with the principal and discuss your child, their medical history and any special family circumstances the school should know about.

Pre-entry visits are usually arranged to occur within two weeks of starting school. Information regarding visits is sent to families in a letter, or they are arranged through the office staff. These visits usually take place between 9.00am – 10.30am or 11.00am – 12.30pm so your child can become familiar with the routines for each part of the day. Families are given a starter pack from the school office when they visit the school. This pack contains vital enrolment material as well as a stationery list. Stationery can be purchased from the school office, please have it all ready for your child’s first day.

Starting school can be a stressful time for families. Even if you already have children at school, each child is unique and different and needs may vary. Here at Flanshaw Road School we endeavour to make this time as easy as possible for both you and your child. We both want the best for your child. To maximise their learning they need to start school feeling secure and accepted. Here are some suggestions for activities that you can start with your child before they start school.

At Flanshaw Road School we believe it is really important that we know about your child, so we can make sure they have the best possible start at our school. Below is a questionnaire that you can download – we can discuss these with you or you may wish to answer the questions and hand the questionnaire into office staff when you enrol your child. Copies will be given to the Principal, your child’s Senior Leader and their teacher. Having this information will help us to work with you, so your child feels safe and happy at their new school.

 Download the starting questionnaire here


Preparing them intellectually

  • Ensure they have lots of practical experiences and talk about them. Going to the beach, bush areas, museums, train stations, etc. and discussing the experience builds your child’s vocabulary which is vital for both reading and writing.
  • Go shopping and let your child help ‘write’ and ‘read’ the list.
  • Encourage your child to write their name independently. This does not always have to be with a pen and paper. They can write in the air, in flour, with chalks, in shaving foam. Write really, really big or really, really small. Remember only the first letter should be a capital.
  • Talk about colours, shapes and sizes. Be specific – say it is a tall tree rather than it is a big tree.
  • Join the library and read books as often as you can to your child. Encourage them to participate, fill in missing words, join in repeated phrases, etc. Always discuss what the story was about. Ask your child “What happened in that story?”
  • Rhyme and rhythm is an integral part of early reading. Sing nursery rhymes and songs with your child. Teach them clapping songs and allow them to move or tap to the beat of music they hear.
  • Count as often as you can, not just things you can touch but steps along the road, number of times they jumped, etc. Count in a mouse’s voice, a giant’s voice, a whisper, etc.

Remember: Reading and writing float on a sea of talk. Every child does settle. Teachers are skilled and equipped to deal with a variety of situations. The overwhelming majority of children are happy, confident learners.

“What we learn with pleasure, we will never forget.” – Alfred Mercier


Preparing them emotionally

  • Ensure that you are always positive when talking to your child about the school experience. If you have any concerns try not to let your child know. We are happy to discuss them with you.
  • Let your child discuss their worries with you. Create a comfortable sharing time and talk about when you started school and how it was for you. Allow your child to ask questions and answer them honestly whilst alleviating any worries. Ask questions such as “What do you think the hardest part of starting school will be?” “What are you really looking forward to?”
  • List to and acknowledge what your child says.
  • Borrow as many books as you can, from the library, friends or relatives about starting school. Share them with your child and discuss the character’s feelings.
    - The Bernstein Bears go to school – by Stan and Jan Bernstein
    - I am absolutely too small for school – by Lauren Child
    - Starting School – by Janet and Alan Ahlberg
  • Ask any older kids that are close to your child’s age to tell them about all the good things that happen at school.
  • Ensure that you take full advantage of all that is on offer to enable your child to transition easily
  • Practise going to school – do a dry run pointing out all the places you will pass. Enable your child to become familiar with the route and routine.
  • It might be necessary for your child to start going to bed earlier, in order to be up and ready on time. Do this slowly, going 15 minutes earlier and getting up 15 minutes earlier until they are on track.
  • Give your child some control – let them choose the colour of their lunchbox and choose from a healthy selection for morning tea and lunch time.
  • Plan how you will say goodbye. It is vital that you do say goodbye to your child, although you may be upset. Save your tears for where your child cannot see them.
  • Explain where and when you will see your child at the end of the day.
  • Encourage your child to be as independent as possible, voicing their concerns and joys.
  • Motivate your child to tackle appropriate problems themselves before going to an adult.

Preparing them physically

For your child to be able to write efficiently they need to have strong finger and shoulder muscles. Here are some ideas that will develop these areas:

  • Climb trees
  • Play with Lego and Playdough
  • Thread beads, pasta, cut up straws
  • Spin spinning tops
  • Have wheelbarrow races
  • Go swimming
  • Play on climbing frames
  • Catch and throw balls
  • Use whisks in the bath or the sink
  • Use tweezers to pick up lentils, beads, etc.
  • Play table football with screwed up balls of paper
  • Play pen and paper golf
  • Cut, colour, paste and paint
  • Rip old newspapers

Practicalities and attitudes

  • Teach your child to take care of their belongings
  • Ensure they can do up shoelaces / shoe fastenings and can take off and put on their own clothes
  • Make sure your child can use the toilet independently and hygienically
  • Try to make sure that they complete any task that you set for them
  • Encourage them to be as independent as possible, trying to do things for themselves before they ask for help
  • Develop their abilities to take turns and share

Once your child has started

On your child’s first few days at school it is vital that you are on time both to drop off and pick up your child. When dropping your child off it is even better if you arrive early – anytime onwards from 8.30am so that your child has time to settle into the day before class officially starts at 8.55am. If it is not possible for your to drop off or collect your child, ensure that it is an adult who is very well known to your child that does this.

Survival strategies for a stress free start

  • Ensure you have plenty of time for breakfast and any last minute wobbles and STILL be on time
  • Don’t let your concerns be known to your child. If they know that you are going to miss them, they will worry about that and starting school
  • When in the classroom find all the things that are similar to home, pre-school or that they used on their visit. Remind your child of the fun times they had when doing that activity.
  • Acknowledge feelings if your child is upset. Accept them and explain other children were probably upset when they started. Discuss what you can do that will help make your child free better – maybe read a book or start an activity.
  • Greet the teacher together. This shows your child that your trust this other adult and they are more likely to respond to the teacher.
  • If your child is reluctant for your to go, us the teacher’s experience. They are used to the situation and will have handy tricks up their sleeves to ease the separation.
  • Leave promptly, once you have said goodbye to your child. Long drawn out goodbyes upset adults and children At Flanshaw we will ring you to let you know how your child’s first day is progressing but you can also ring if you are concerned.

Settling in

One of the indicators of educational achievement is parental involvement in their child’s education so:

  • Get to know your child’s teacher
  • Attend school events – parents meetings, school shows and student led conferences all give you opportunities to meet other families and staff.
  • At the end of the day your child may be upset – once the initial excitement has worn off, fatigue and subsequent inappropriate behaviour may occur. You r child trusts you so any negative feelings and tiredness issues are likely to come your way.
  • When you drop off or pick up your child, ask to see some of their work. Focus on all the learning they are doing and also see how you can support them at home.
  • If you child misses you negotiate with the child’s teacher to bring in a special object, maybe a photo or a note. One parent drew lots of x’s on small pieces of paper and put them in her child’s pocket telling her she now had a pocket full of kisses.
  • Some children may say that they do not want to go to school Even though this may happen because they want your attention it is important to be positive. Remind them of the fun things they have done at school so far and how much they have learnt. Go back to the tips for your child’s first few days; these procedures will enable them to feel secure again.