Don’t underestimate the concerns of children starting junior school
Starting a new school can be stressful for parents and children. Some children will change schools slightly more frequently than others due to separate infant and junior schools. The stress of transferring from infant to junior school in year 3 can sometimes be overlooked; when searching online for advice, the only help which can be found relates to starting primary school or secondary school.
The worry of starting junior school for parents and children should not be disregarded and we believe more can be done to help with this transition. Even if the junior school is part of the infant school, it can sometimes mean a move to a different building and playground, which can be scary for children.
Common worries shared by parents and children
Our ‘how-to’ English and maths workbooks support children from year 3 to 6 by preparing them for 11+ and SATs exams. Through working with parents and children, we have noticed a common trend with the concerns of transitioning from infant to junior school, some of which are:
- School drop off is less personal, dropping off at the school gate rather than outside the classroom
- Different and/or larger playground or school field
- Classrooms are more likely to be designed to teach from desks rather than the free-flow environment of infant classes
- Slightly longer school day
- More homework
- Harder subjects with more academic structure to prepare for SATs exams in year 6
- More subjects, e.g. introduction of learning a foreign language
These factors may seem small to anyone not going through the system, but they can play on children’s minds over the summer holidays and long into the school year.
For all concerned parents that are moving on to junior school with their child, here are some helpful tips:
It’s good to talk
In the summer holidays it’s very easy to ignore the rest of the year and just concentrate on the summer fun. However, as we know, ignoring the matter is just putting it off! Talk about the changes your child will experience, find out more about their concerns, and put an action plan together for how their worry can be overcome.
Drive or walk past the school. Look through the fencing and play a game with your child where they must find something new in the school every time they look in. This will open up more conversation and help your child familiarise themselves with the school.
Get ahead of the work
If you or your child are concerned about how hard year 3 will be, visit www.aepublications.co.uk/school_year/year-3/ and browse our range of year 3 workbooks for maths and English. Additional work at home, with our easy-to-use ‘how-to’ approach workbooks, will be fun for them and will get them used to the level of work they will be doing in the classroom.
Playdates in the school holiday are a fantastic way to encourage children to open up and make them realise they’re not on their own with how they are feeling.
Could your child buddy up with an older child already at the school? Talk to other parents to see if there is a child who can answer their questions and meet them on their first day.
A fashion show
If your child has a new uniform for junior school, let them get involved with buying the uniform and trying it on a few times. Send pictures of them wearing the uniform to family and friends to show how they’re growing up so quickly. It’s a great way to boost your child’s confidence and get them excited about school.
All these tips are simple and will make a huge difference to your child’s confidence levels in their first few weeks at their new junior school.
We wish you and your child the best of luck in the next school chapter!