Transitioning from nursery to primary school is a challenging leap and a big change. So when it comes time for their little ones to head to “big school”, parents naturally want to do the best for their kids by reducing the blow. HANRI NEL has been nurturing families going through this adjustment for many years. Here, the Vice Principal of the White Lodge School of the Arts in Loewen Gardens provides some advice for anyone who’s preparing a new school starter.
Why is learning to transition from nursery into school important?
The nursery years lay the foundation for future learning. They’re carried out in a safe and nurturing environment where children can build up their confidence and develop a love for discovering new things. If they’re given the coping strategies to deal with change in nursery, they grow into more resilient children who’ll adapt to any new experiences they’re presented with.
What are some of the crucial skills children should have developed before they go to school?
We need to equip them with some numeracy and literacy skills. We also assist them in achieving age-appropriate milestones in areas of movement and fine motor skills, cognitive skills and communication. Last, but certainly not least, we help develop their social and emotional development as well as their independence.
How do you do this?
We make sure that we create learning opportunities that allow children to question, explore and problemsolve, both individually and as a group. Children need to be allowed to come up with their own solutions through creative, critical thinking and problemsolving.
At what age do you advise starting this process?
We encourage children to be independent and respectful to others from an early age and we build on these core values throughout their early-years education.
Hanri’s tips for at home
Here are some things that you can do as a parent at home to foster the development of crucial skills for the transition to “big school”:
• Let them take the lead in activities like role play and board games.
• Ask them to pack and unpack their own bags.
• Include them in everyday activities like setting the table or cooking – supervised, of course!
• Allow them to make mistakes and come up with solutions to their own problems