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Nadia WilsonBy Nadia Wilson, a passionate teacher, married with 3 dogs, a cat & a hamster. Reviews games and comic books. Teaches preschool children from Gr 00 and is learning Japanese and Mandarin. Find her on Facebook.

A child’s first day at nursery school or playgroup can be quite frightening, especially if they have never been to a nursery school/preschool or day-care centre before. Here are some tips for the first day to make it more enjoyable and easier to adapt.

  • Take your child along to the mall and buy a new bag for school; let them feel very special by letting them choose.
  • Allow them to specially buy new clothes for the first day, just keep playing, and getting dirty, in mind.
  • If your child is going to school after the December holiday for the first time, it’s a good idea to take them to see their new school before the holiday starts.
  • Ask the school for permission to take pictures of: his new class / other classes, the play area and their new teacher and anything else you’d like to take photos of. Make a scrapbook together and look through it every day and talk about it.
  • Some schools let the kids visit any day, just arrange with the principal and the teacher for the appropriate day and provide your contact info.
  • Organise play dates for before the schools start with a parent who already has a child in that school, it will make the first day so much easier to see a familiar face, even if they are not in the same class.
  • If the teacher gets permission from the future parents, she might even provide you with phone numbers of kids who will be in your little Angel’s class, again organise a play date.
  • Read books about The First Day of School, there are various available, just ask bookstores like PNA and Exclusive Books for some recommendations
  • Draw a picture for the new teacher; it will make them very happy. If it’s okay with the school you can send along your child’s teddy or favourite toy to “comfort ” them, where it can be a special guest during the day and sit on a shelf during work time.
  • Talk with your child about what they are going to do at school and what they will learn about. (turn it into a guessing game)
  • Pack a special lunchbox and leave a note in it which the teacher can read it to them 🙂
  • When you drop them off on the first day, take them to an activity packed out by the teacher (if she might be busy and not able to tend to them at that stage, remember lots of kids start on the same day) and as soon as they seem calm say goodbye and do not linger, as this just makes it worse. The teacher will comfort them, hold their hand or even let them sit on her lap. She will try her utmost best to calm them as soon as possible, do not linger. If there’s an assistant or cleaner in the vicinity they will help.
  • Remember it is normal for a child to cry for the first week or even month , it is a big adjustment for someone who is actually still so small
  • and very important : stay calm for the sake of your child , from when you get up until you leave school , a tense atmosphere can make the adjustment more difficult, never cry in front of them, in most cases the kids are fine until they see mommy cry then all storms break loose .

  • REMEMBER the teacher knows how to look after your child and how to do her job and although you worry about your child try not to keep nagging her. Do not tell her how to do her job, it can stress the teacher, your child will sense this and also feel stressed.
  • There’s no need to buy something for the teacher but some parents are known to do this as to make the teacher feel more relaxed/trusted.
  • Some teachers will establish a what’s app group for her class’ moms and use it to communicate with you and with your permission she will send pictures of your child playing, learning and progressing throughout the day. Do not unnecessarily message a teacher after hours / weekends unless it’s an Emergency. Remember you are leaving your child in her care for a whole year and she will go out of her way to do her job to the best of her ability.
  • If you have a problem with the teacher rather talk with her directly before talking to the ​​principal. Only do this if the problem is not resolved.
  • If a teacher picks up problems/issues with your child she will mention it to you, so cooperate and find a solution together, remember she is there to help your child.
  • If the teacher refers your child to a Speech therapist/occupational therapist, it is normally with good reason, so hear her out.
  • Parents evenings are normally held at preschools where all important information will be given to you, so please make sure to attend these.

Click here to find a list of preschools in Gauteng and here for schools in KZN.

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