Back to school

Back to School image via Shutterstock

This year’s Back to School in September is a biggy for us as we’re going up. Yes, the girls will be moving on to Year 3 and junior school and although the school is only next door and has the same name we had to reapply.

It means not only a change of teacher but of school uniform, school times and much more that I am finding out as the time draws closer.

We’re going to have to teach the girls to put a tie on and tie up shoe laces. We’re going to have our larger school bags to contend with, satchel or rucksack? Pencil cases are needed with named products inside. So as you can imagine there’s quite a lot of preparation already taking place.

Back to school tips and tricks

Marks and Spencer asked me to share some of my top tips for making sure our Back to School is worry free and painless.

Uniform

Think ahead – I have already been to the local shop and bought the school cardigans with logos on, I’ve sent in money for the school ties and the compulsory PE bag too as last year some students had to go without at the beginning of term. Also by thinking ahead you can take advantage of the sales and pick up quality uniform at a fraction of the initial price.

Getting dressed – It’s important to get the girls into a habit of dressing themselves and I find if I have laid out the uniform with them the night before so they have to think of what they need for the following day it makes them more responsible (she says with fingers crossed)

Lunch

School dinners or packed lunch? I must admit after a whole year of not having to worry about making a packed lunch every day I’m tempted to pay for them to continue with school dinners. If we do find ourselves reverting to packed lunches then they will be prepared the night before and once again I shall rope the twins in to sorting out their lunch boxes with me

Pencil case

I shall be taking them shopping over the school holidays and choosing a school bag and a new pencil case. I have invested in a Stamptastic stamp which allows me to stamp EVERYTHING they own.

Keeping the knowledge

It’s important to keep their knowledge ticking over on the summer break and by that I don’t mean over doing it with homework but little games for the times tables, at least the 2s 5s and 10s plus lots of reading good books. Visit the local library or start a book swap with other school mums.

School bags

Always get prepared the night before. Only last minute addition could be a lunch box out of the fridge.

Walk to school

We are just down the road from our school so we walk every day unless it’s tipping it down in which case we jump in the car. We have a checklist we all say before we leave the house so we all remember what to take: – Book bags, water bottles, keys and so on. We’ll often talk about things we see on our walk to school or use the time for conversation.

First day back

An exciting day and a worrying one too for some? On our first day back parents will accompany the children to the junior school hall form that day onwards the children will have to enter via the school gate on their own and in past years I have noticed this can be quite daunting for some children. We shall be organising with the other school mums to meet at the gate from the second day onwards so the children can go in together.

Reaching half term

I always think the first term back is the hardest especially when it’s a new school, new teacher and lots of new information to take on board. I like to get homework done over the weekend in the morning so the day is clear and we haven’t to worry about it anymore. I think weekends should have something to look forward to, this can be playing in a local park or baking some brownies, anything that for the children is a fun task.

Marks and Spencer got in touch and asked me to share some of my top tips with them, have you got any to add? How do you make your Back to School smoother?

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Marks and Spencer they have a 20% off promo that runs until the 14th of July

Riverview Infant School

The other day I went for my first meeting at the infant school where the girl’s will be starting in September, a very exciting time and an extremely important one too. I recently shared with you my thoughts on keeping twins together or not but whilst I sat listening to the Head Mistress discuss uniform requirements, the induction process and introduce us to our class teachers it hadn’t occurred to me about getting the girls ready for school.

There are so many things we, as parents, do that we take for granted as part of our daily life that I hadn’t stopped to think about the Headmistresses top tips all of which make perfect sense for an easier passage from preschool to Big School.

I am very lucky and honoured to host a guest post from our head Nicole Caulfield and I hope it will help many others out their get their little ones ready for the grand occasion

Top Tips for getting your child ready for Primary School

Most of our children attend a Nursery/ Pre-school, all of whom offer valuable social and learning opportunities.

However now that your child is starting school we expect a degree of independence from them, particularly with 120 children joining us in September.

Whilst there are a number of adults to help and support the children in school the ratio is far less than in Nursery schools.  In schools there only has to legally be 2 adults: 30 children. Whilst here at Riverview we have additional adults in the Foundation Stage there are still things that you may want to work on before your child starts with us, particularly if your child currently finds things tricky:

Toileting

Unfortunately we cannot wipe bottoms. Whilst staff are happy to encourage children to do it themselves it is preferable if they are independent as our toilets are separate to our classrooms. Sometimes even shouting ‘finished’ from the confines of the cubicle doesn’t immediately attract attention.

If your child has a special medical condition we need to arrange a ‘Care Plan’ to support their needs.

Dressing & undressing

Taking clothes off independently & putting them back on in the right order!! This can be particularly tricky for some children especially during the first PE sessions.

Children are generally really good at taking their clothes off but putting them tidy ready to put on again can take time.

The trickier time comes when dressing; which clothes go on in the right order? We have a number of children who put their socks and shoes on first and then try to get their trousers on. This generally leads to the hopping around the classroom scenario.

Sometimes we get the superman pants and generally everyone gets their clothes on back to front and inside out, or they forget to put them back on at all!

We try and make life easier with our uniform policy, (the buttons on polo shirts are easier for small fingers than shirts) and with shoes, Velcro is easier than laces.

If you think your child may have problems, have a practise over the holiday period.

Knives & forks

This is particularly relevant if your child is going to be having one of our fabulous cooked lunches. Lunchtime here is very busy and whilst our platoon of Mid-Day Supervisors help children cut up food, they are unable to sit with them or feed them and spaghetti bolognaise is very messy when eaten with fingers! If your child is just used to finger food then you may want to practise with a knife and fork, spoons are ok to start with.

Blowing noses

At some point your child will get a cold (probably amongst other childhood illnesses) and the candles of snot will appear running from their nose, generally to be randomly licked away or wiped on the sleeve of a sweatshirt leaving that tell-tale snail trail. In our experience the knack is to practise actually blowing the contents of the nasal cavities into a tissue, rather than smacking their lips together.

Manners

This may appear old fashioned but for us a simple ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ goes a long way.

Some excellent tips I think you’ll agree, I’ve decided we’re going to be setting up a reward chart over the next few months with stars and prizes for each obstacle tackled to make it fun and hopefully master all of the challenges above ;)