Starting the new school year is an exciting time, but it can also be challenging for some children.
Below are our top six tips for preparing for a great year with Montessori Academy.
Tip One: Packing for the first day
In preparation for the first day, make sure that you and your child are organised and excited! For older children, help them get organised by encouraging them to find everything that they will need for their first day.
List of Needs
• A clearly labelled backpack or bag
• Two changes of spare clothes
• Clearly labelled drink bottle
• Clearly labelled sun safe hat
• Cot-sized bed sheets
• Nappies or pull-ups (if your child is not yet toilet trained)
• Clearly labelled lunchbox (if your child’s centre isn’t catered)
• Toy / comforter for sleep time (if required)
For new families, you will also need to supply four passport sized photographs of your child, a copy of your child’s birth certificate, and current immunisation records. It’s a good idea to make sure that your child’s bag is packed the day before school starts to prevent any unnecessary stress. As Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong, will — at the worst possible moment.”
Tip Two: Establish a morning routine that works
Trying to get out the door before 9am can be stressful. However, it is very important that your child arrives before 8:30am to ensure that they receive the greatest benefit from the Montessori work cycle. The Montessori work cycle is the most important part of the day at any Montessori Academy childcare centre, as it is during this period of uninterrupted work, that children learn the most. To ensure that your child arrives before 8:30am, keep the following tips in mind:
• Pack school bags the night before
• Establish a good night time routine where you and your children are getting enough rest
• Get yourself ready first in the morning, then move on to your children
• Have a healthy breakfast, and make sure that your children do too
• Keep lunch boxes healthy and simple
• Encourage your children to be independent and get themselves ready
• Keep stress to a minimum and focus on motivating your children to get out the door as quickly as possible
Tip Three: Healthy lunchboxes
Infants, toddlers and preschoolers need a nutritious and balanced diet to support healthy brain, bone and muscle development. Most children would love to live on lollies, chips and biscuits; however, these foods have little or no nutritional value. To encourage your children to eat protein, fruits and veggies, get creative and make meal time fun! See the links below for healthy lunchtime sandwiches, salads and slices:
If your child’s centre is catered, you will not need to pack a lunch box.
Tip Four: Easing anxious children into a new routine
As children grow and develop, they are likely to encounter new situations that make them feel worried or nervous. Starting at a new childcare centre can be a big change for children, as they need to settle into a new environment, and begin forming relationships with their peers and staff. To help your child’s transition go smoothly, work with them to develop coping skills that will enable them to handle new challenges and changes. There are lots of ways you can help your child to cope during challenging or worrying situations, a few are below:
• Listen and talk to your child about what is concerning them, and acknowledge how they are feeling. Talk to your child about how they can overcome their fears by reassuring them, using positive language, and creating new rituals / routines to help cope with anxiety.
• Demonstrate and model ways to cope with worrying situations, such as deep breathing, having a drink of water, cuddling a favourite toy, sitting somewhere quiet, counting to five, singing a song, or reading a story that will help them relax.
• Prepare your child for changes by talking positively about starting at Montessori Academy, do activities together in preparation for starting at the centre, and read stories about change that will help put them at ease.
• Encourage help seeking by talking to your child about asking for help and talking to someone. Talk to them about asking their teachers for help when they feel worried or can’t do something for themselves, and encourage them to talk to their peers about their feelings.
• Promote problem solving by talking to your child about similar situations that involve their favourite character or toy. Through storytelling, explain to them that problem solving is a step-by-step process that will help them achieve a positive outcome.
• Inform your child’s Teachers and Centre Manager that they are nervous about this new change. Work with your child’s Teachers and Centre Manager to develop strategies to help ease your child ease into their new routine.
• Encourage your child by talking positively to them about their attempts to cope with change, and how they are progressing. Even a small change is a huge victory!
Tip Five: Promote positive learning experiences
Encouraging children to share and talk about what they learnt each day is a great way to keep them positive and engaged with what they are learning. It’s also a good idea to encourage your child to show you what they did each day so that they learn to take pride in their work and what they have accomplished. On the way home, ask your child questions to help reinforce what they have learnt, what good things that happened to them that day, and how they would like to practice different skills at home. A few good examples are:
• What was the best thing that happened to you today?
• What activities did you do in class today?
• What was the most interesting thing that you learnt?
• What was the nicest thing you did for someone else today?
• What did you find difficult today?
• How are your friends?
• If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
• How would you like to practice at home?
• What is one thing you hope to learn this week?
• What games did you play today during outside time?
Tip Six: Get to know the staff
At Montessori Academy, our team of staff are here to partner with you to help support your child’s unique development journey. To get the most out of your time with Montessori Academy, get to know your child’s Teachers and Centre Manager, as they will be your support system throughout the year. It’s a good idea to talk to your child’s Teacher regularly about how your child is going, what they are doing well, and what they may find challenging. The Parent Communication Book is also a great tool for communicating with your child’s Teachers.
Your child’s Centre Manager is also a great person to talk to about any concerns you may have, any extra support you feel your child may need, and anything you would like to know about the centre. There are also Parent Teacher Nights twice a year that will give you the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion with your child’s Teachers and Centre Manager. If at any time you ever feel like you need more information, please book in time with your child’s Centre Manager or Room Leader to discuss what you’re thinking and feeling. We’re here to help and support your family in any way we can.