Some ‘Little’ Tips For Starting ‘Big School’!

The new school term is fast approaching and in a couple of weeks, many four-year-olds will start ‘Big School’ for the very first time. Starting primary school or ‘Big School’ is a big step for your child. It can be exciting and a little daunting, not only for children, but also for parents.

Sarah__Mark_1When my own ‘little man’ Mark started primary school a couple of years ago, I was keen to do everything I could to make the transition was as smooth, exciting and positive as possible for him, and did some research to find out how to prepare him for the change.

Here are some tips and ideas that helped me prepare my son for ‘Big School’ him and made my son’s transition from preschool to primary school smoother for him and myself, especially for those first few days in school. They are just little things but they can make a big difference…

Independence is key

We need to try and ensure that our children are as independent as possible. Practicing with them will help them develop the skills they need for this new and busy environment. Simple skills like putting on and off their own coat, opening  their own lunch box, going to the toilet by themselves and washing their hands will be of great benefit to them and make them feel more confident and in control

Prepare an appropriate lunch

When it comes to their lunchbox, we don’t need to be giving them a meal fit for a builder! They are only there for a short time for the first few weeks, so a little snack is all that is necessary. Try to give them drinks that they can open, ready peeled fruit, and give them food they are used to and you know they will eat – now may not be the time to try the hummus with celery sticks if this is not what they are used to!

Keep your language light!

We should try not to mention and focus on the words ‘big school’ too much in the weeks and days leading up to the start day. Remember most children will not really understand the concept of school, and their imaginations are very vivid… so who knows what images they are conjuring up! Keep your language light and positive and they will take their cue from you.

Preparation is everything

It will be a busy, exciting and perhaps an anxious morning on that first day, so we need to make it as calm as possible. Try to make sure you have everything ready the night before. You may need to get up earlier than usual to give yourself time, just in case anything doesn’t go to plan! I tried Mark’s full uniform on over the weekend, and I’m so glad I did because I did get a bit emotional! I wouldn’t want him to pick up on my emotions or anxieties on his day – I want him to be as relaxed and excited as possible.

Trust the Teacher

Once we reach the school we need to take the lead from the teacher – remember they do this every year and they know all the tricks to settle a child. If our child becomes upset, as hard as it may be we need to leave when advised to. We need to hold back our tears and put on our happy faces – we can have our cry when we get out of the school! We can also take comfort in the knowledge that this upset will only last a short time – the fact is they will probably have recovered before we have!


So while it may be an emotional time for us, this is an exciting time for our children. They are starting a new chapter in their lives, learning a variety of new and exciting things and they’ll be making friends and starting friendships that could last a life time. If we focus on this positive aspect it will make the whole experience easier and more pleasant for everyone.

I came across these lovely poems, one from a parent that I know I can relate to, and the other a very reassuring response from a teacher. I hope this all helps in some way and that we can all enjoy this special day!

*Note – You may just need a tissue for these…

Letter from a parent:

And the response from the teacher:

Dear Teacher,
I know you’re rather busy
First day back, there’s just no time
A whole new class of little ones
And this one here is mineI’m sure you have things covered
And have done this lots before
But my boy is very little
He hasn’t long turned fourIn his uniform this morning
He looked so tall and steady
But now beside your great big school
I’m not quite sure he’s readyDo you help them eat their lunch?
Are you quick to soothe their fears?
And if he falls and hurts his knee
Will someone dry his tears?And what if no-one plays with him?
What if someone’s mean?
What if two kids have a fight
And he’s caught in between?You’re right, I have to leave now
It’s time for him to go
I’m sure he’ll learn so much from you
Things that I don’t know

Yes, I’m sure they settle quickly
That he’s fine now without me
I know he has to go to school
It’s just so fast, you see

It seems like just a blink ago
I first held him in my arms
It’s been my job to love, to teach
To keep him safe from harm

So when I wave goodbye in a moment
And he turns to walk inside
Forgive me if I crumble
Into tears of loss and pride

I know as I give him one more kiss
And watch him walk away
That he’ll never again be wholly mine
As he was before today

Dear Parent,
I understand that you are scared
To wave your child goodbye
And leave him in a teacher’s hands
Don’t worry if you cry!I’m used to weeping parents
It’s hard to leave I know,
But it’s time to share him (just a bit)
To help him learn and grow.Let me reassure you
That I’ll give your child my best
I’ll wipe his tears, soothe his fears
And change his dirty vest!If your darling child is full of cold
I’ll blow their nose all day
Just like you, I’ll care for them
In a special way.I’ll treat him like I would my own
I’ll catch him from a fall and
If there is ANY problem
I’ll be sure to tell you all.It’s true he’ll grow to love us
They’ll talk of school a lot
It doesn’t mean they hate you
And that you should lose the plot!

I’ll tell you a secret..
That when your child is here
They talk to me as much of you
Of this please have no fear

You’ll always be their mother
Whilst teachers come and go
To them you are their number one
This I truly know

Soon you’ll see some changes
In your little girl or boy
They’ll become more independent
And to see this, it’s a joy

I’ll teach them all I have to give
To share, climb and to write
But to you they safely will return
To tuck them in at night.