Welcome to the Kew Primary School Blog and to our first post of 2013. This one is for all the new parents whose children are starting Prep this year. KPS has a great school community – you’ll find that out pretty soon – and this year we’re very happy to welcome some sixty or so new families to our community. We’re really glad you chose Kew Primary and we hope you have a great first term.
It’s been a while since my son stood to attention on our front porch in his crisp new uniform and oversized backpack as I snapped photos for posterity. (And somewhat longer since I did the same for my parents; I still have my first-day-of-school pictures – a cold September day in England in the late 1960s in a uniform that was entirely knitted!)
The first day of Prep is A Big Day, not just for the kids, but the parents as well; I remember wondering and worrying about all sorts of things. So last week I got together with a few mums who have been around the traps for a while and we recollected those early days. By the time we’d exhausted the coffee machine, and the kids were starting to melt down, we’d come up with our very own Top Ten Tips for Panicked Preppie Parents. Here goes:
- Don’t panic. They’re going to be fine. Some kids walk into class on that first day without a backward glance, some cry every day for the first week and for the second, but it rarely lasts much longer than that. Prep teachers are accustomed to it and will do their utmost to help your son or daughter settle quickly and manage any nervousness they might have. It really doesn’t take them long to find their place, make a few friends and start enjoying themselves.
- Prep teachers are more than happy to talk to you about any concerns you have in relation to your child, but it might be best to give them a bit of breathing space right at the start of term. Drop-off and pick-up in the first couple of weeks are always pretty hectic. Once the initial rush is over, teachers will have more time to talk to you.
- Lunch is probably a bit later in the day than most kids are used to, so it’s really important that your Preppie has a decent breakfast and a reasonable snack for mid-morning. I know my kids tended to eat more at snack time, than they did at lunch which worked fine for them.
- Your Preppie will be completely exhausted by the time you get them home. Pretty much every parent I’ve spoken to has said their kids were tired, grumpy, or over-sensitive – or all three – for most of Term 1. It’s a huge deal and just keeping it together for the day really takes it out of them. It’s also a good idea to keep extra-curricular activities – swimming, sport, gym – to a minimum, especially in the first term.
- Communication is really important, but don’t expect to get too much information out of your Preppie. How was your day, Sweetheart? What did you do? generally elicits only a very brief response. If you can, try to make a coffee morning, the drinks night or the Peppercorn BBQ which are all great ways of meeting other parents and finding out more about what’s going on with your kids’ class.
- A few practical hints: it’s useful to keep some spare some clothes – undies, shorts, skirt, socks – in your son or daughter’s bag; if they can’t tie laces, send them in shoes with Velcro; make sure they can easily open their lunch box and everything in it.
- Recess and lunch time can be difficult for some kids – there’s a bigger physical area than they’re probably used to, more kids running around and less structured activity – and it’s a good idea to talk to them about how they manage all that. Some pointers for them might help, too: Can I play in your game? Do you want to play tag?
- It can sometimes be helpful for your child to take a small toy or ball for use in the playground at lunch and recess. Just make sure it’s nothing very expensive, or anything you care too much about! It probably won’t come home.
- Your Prep child will be doing a lot of work on basic literacy and numeracy in the early days and the temptation to compare them to other kids in their class – and to what they can and can’t do is huge. Try to resist! (Drives the teachers nuts!) The range of what kids can do when they start Prep is huge; if you’re really concerned, talk to your kids’ teacher.
- The school publishes a regular Newsletter and a Bulletin which provide all the information you need to keep you informed and up-to-date with what’s happening at school. It may seem like obvious advice, but if you want to feel connected to the school, and know what’s going on with your child, read it!
Like I said, don’t panic; it’s all good.
When I’d finished chatting with the mums about all this, I asked my Grade 5 son what advice he would give to any new Preppie starting at Kew Primary. These were his wise words: Be careful with scissors, kids! And the toilets smell!
Enjoy Term 1 and see you all at the Peppercorn BBQ.