Help – my child's too young for school!
My daughters first day at school was a bit of a shock – not for her – but for me. To see all these littlies running around, brimming with excitement and anticipation, excitedly anticipating the many years of schooling ahead, barely acknowledging proud parents as they rushed into the joys of academia….
Not really. If your child's first day was anything like most it was actually quite normal. Perhaps some children were like the ones above but some were fearful, tearful, and didn't want to let go.
The point is that every child is different and unique. Parents can sometimes find it hard to adjust to their offspring going to school (I did). Children however take most things in their stride.
The youngest child in class could be a disadvantage but so can the quietist, loudest, shortest or tallest. What makes a skilful Reception teacher is to take all these characters and encourage them to become pupils.
There can be a genuine concern about being the youngest but this is generally judged by how “mature” they are thought to be. I don't think so. There are plenty of immature older children. I'm more inclined to think that it is a question of physical durability. Younger children just get tired quicker. That's about it really.
I'm not convinced that being the youngest affects a child throughout all their schooling. In fact most classes will “even up” by about Year 3. However every child will benefit from some support and every child is an individual.
There are a number of things we can do to practically support our children at school.
Don't forget that you were your child's first teacher. The joy of discovery was down to you. Your enthusiasm for a splodge of paint that looked nothing at all like “my family” was really a turning point in your child's development. Continuing enthusiasm as the child begins “formal” education can be a powerful motivation to want to do well. I'm not really suggesting that every piece of work is awarded a place on the fridge. Just that real interest can be very helpful.
A child will notice that you notice. Making a comment that shows you're interested and have thought about the work can be potent. Rather than the tired “that's nice dear” can you think of something that will create a response? Perhaps a questions such as why did you use that colour? What made you think of that? Can you explain that to me? Many children will take great pride in patiently explaining something they've learned.
I remember my woodwork teacher showing the class a model I had made. It was really rubbish (literally and figuratively) but he went out of his way to show everyone. I was extremely proud and always worked hard in his lessons!
Let's be honest. Not every child is good at everything. A little practical help can sometimes be called for. We do this naturally as parents but perhaps sometimes a little late. Being enthusiastic or involved in your child's schooling is much more pro-active. As you understand more about schoolwork your help can be timely.
For instance if you know that your child is struggling with understanding numbers give them help now – but be prepared for potential future problems. Maths doesn't work in isolation. Just helping your child today is fine but continuing to help them in the future is better.
Education doesn't stop at 3.30pm and teachers are not solely responsible. It should be a three way partnership between the parent, school and child. So a comment to teachers – open up please! While many schools are arranging “parent subject orientation evenings” there are not enough. Many parents want to help and be involved. It's not a case of “modern teaching methods need explaining,” any responsible parent is more than capable of supporting and being enthusiastic.
An involved, enthusiastic and consistent approach will do much to ensure your child's progress through school is a happy one whether they are young, old, tall or short.
There are some great supporting resources out there – such as 3minutemaths 🙂 – and it's a fantastic time for any child to be going to school. Education has come a long way from “chalk and talk” and provided many with the opportunity to develop brilliant careers throughout the world.
Anyway, what wrong with being young!