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1st Day at Nursery School: What to Expect & How to Prepare

Preparing Your Child for Their First Day at Nursery School

Starting nursery school can be an emotional time for a child (and their parents too). If you have a child about to start nursery you might be biting your nails anxiously at the prospect of saying goodbye to your baby. Your children will pick up on your angst, so it’s important you put your own concerns to one side and concentrate on getting your child ready to face the challenges of this new phase in their little life.

Make sure you take the opportunity to visit the nursery school with your child prior to their first day, make it fun by highlighting all the good things there are to see and do and be sure to encourage them to join in activities on offer. Don’t force things too much, your child may be feeling a little shy in their new surroundings. Talk to them about their new teacher(s) and explain that they can ask them for help with anything at all. The nursery team will be well-versed in dealing with nervous children (and parents) on the first day and will want to make the experience as positive as possible.

Most nursery schools will have a welcome meeting and / or open day for new parents and children. There will be lots of information provided and this will give you an insight as to what is expected. Help your child and the staff by addressing any toileting issues before the start of term (accidents are expected now and again and staff can encourage reluctant toilet goers with reminders). It’s a good idea to make it easy for your child too by not dressing them in fussy clothes, dungarees may look cute, but if there’s an urgent need for a wee they can be a real bugbear!

Your child will get help in looking after their belongings but they will be expected to take more responsibility as time goes on. This could involve placing their coat and bag on their own peg and putting their water bottle into a designated place. It’s a good idea to use name tags for their belongings (many nursery schools will specifically ask that you to label everything). This will assist staff in ensuring each child has the right coat at playtime and you can show your child their name printed on the name tag, the sooner they can identify their name the better.

It’s also a good idea to get your child to practise buttoning up coats and unbuckling shoes, these can be tricky skills to master, so be patient. Make sure you add name tags to your child’s shoes, if they take them off it we be easier for the staff to re-unite them with the right pair.

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