Moving from Kindergarten to Primary 1 can be a daunting journey for both the child and parents. Overnight, children are attending a larger class, bigger school, there are homework and projects, buying their own food, and the list goes on. Children will take some time to adapt but we can certainly work towards a smoother transition. Most importantly, parents’ availability and show of support go a long way in helping with the transition.
Roleplay scenarios to familiarise your child
As the school days grow longer, it can sometimes be overwhelming or challenging for your child to remember what to do in unfamiliar or challenging situations. Why not roleplay some of the scenarios to get them familiar with the best course of action, for example:
- How to make phone calls, or remembering phone numbers
- What to do if they miss the bus
- What to do if they forget their pocket money
- How to approach a new friend
- How to ask the teacher for help
Role playing these scenarios can help your child cope, and as time goes on they will begin to feel more comfortable in new situations. Eventually, children will learn how to problem solve, leverage on friends and teachers for help.
Motivate them by showing what they learn has a purpose
Where there is fun, learning takes place, and this extends beyond pre-school. Let your child view school as a happy place to be at, a place where they can make memories with friends and where learning can be enjoyed. When they are asked to complete a task for an activity or homework, help them make it purposeful and engaging to motivate them to finish. Show them that what they are doing has a reason; once they understand why they are doing something, they will feel more motivated and excited about attending school.
Make reading and writing fun
Reading and writing can be challenging for some children. Give them a helping hand by practising reading and writing at home. Continue to read to them daily before bedtime and eventually they will form the habit of reading on their own. Incorporate simple Q&A games into story time so that they learn to think critically about what they have read. This can be similarly done with writing tasks. Formulate a story with your child, and make the story as ridiculous and funny as possible. Challenge them to write the story and compile it into a booklet, and read it back from time to time.
Sometimes, all you need to do is listen
We were once children too, and while we might not remember how we felt on the first day of Primary 1, we can all relate to first day jitters or being in a new job. Be available and be sure to dedicate time to listening to what they have to say about their day. Sometimes all that is needed is for parents to be there to show support and talk to them. When children are faced with problems, it is important that parents solve the problems with them and not for them. Eventually, children will develop problem solving skills. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate their growing independence.
By Vivien Kwok, Principal, British Council Pre-School