Pre-school, nursery, toddler group or BIG school! No matter how old your child is, this is a really big deal so we advise caution, plenty of planning and positivity. Big school of course is the start of FULL time so this is another difference to take into account. If your jelibean is used to coming home at lunchtime then why should anywhere else be any different? Making the transition from pre school to Primary school is a pretty big deal and a massive change (jelibeans don't do change well!).
The day has come and school has arrived for the first time! How exciting but scary! How everyone has been looking forward to it - and now, your jelibean is having second thoughts and mum is in meltdown! Yes we have all been there. Handing our children over to someone else, a stranger is bad enough but when they are crying and hanging onto your leg for grim death, it is seriously traumatising. So prepare them for their first day - carefully. Gentle and frequent chats will help and I am sure by now they will have visited at least once or twice.
Please remember that school is a big place to a little jelibean. Often it smells funny and there are new sounds which we may find scary - school bells for example. Many new sensory experiences that may not sit too well with your jelibean. It can easily become overwhelming. For the first few weeks it is a case of getting acclimatised to their surroundings. It may take a while, but we get there in the end.
Don’t forget to give your jelibeans a good breakfast before they leave home. They really need fuelling well. Our junior school allows all children to bring water into class and this is such a great idea and necessary for over-heated jelibeans. The school also has fruit breaks as well when children are encouraged to eat fruit – so much better for the sugar-addicted jelibean than a huge chocolate bar.
It’s a good idea also arrange a reliable system of trying to get the School Newsletter home in time to find out that tomorrow is holiday! Half the rain-forest seems to need to be brought home, consent forms, dinner forms, coffee mornings, head lice checks, not to mention school doctor and the dentist, actually it’s a wonder the School Secretary isn’t buried! I haven’t seen her recently so maybe, bless her, she is!
Talking of the school secretary, she’s often likened to the doctor’s receptionist and gets the flak from the start. It’s nearly always her who has to cope with problems. Please remember that if when a problem does arise it may be a first for YOU, but they’ve seen it a hundred times before and are used to it!
If you’re constantly getting calls from school regarding your jellybean’s disruptive behaviour, check to see who they’re sharing their table with. My younger two sons shortly after starting school were always getting told off in class. On further investigation it was discovered that three big red jelibeans were sharing the same table. It was decided to separate them. It worked.
Obviously the class-room is not the place where most of the trouble occu rs and so here’s a note to teachers. Break and lunch times are particularly stressful to jelibeans. ADHD-affected jelibeans will zoom out of the classroom as though they are turbo-charged, they spin and whizz and shout. Their arms are flinging and flanging and their legs seem to be on time delay as they desperately try to catch up with the rest of their body. But jelibeans with a helping of ADD or Asperger's Syndrome may become isolated and lonely. Please watch carefully. Thank you.
Many problems that arise in class are as a result of trouble in between class. A lost PE bag, or just being knocked on the way to assembly, is enough to cause havoc. It makes more sense for us to be preventing these often minor incidents from turning into a Tsunami.
OK, we now have a happy but somewhat nervous jeliswimmer complete with armbands, ring and float. Deep under the water comes swimming that Piranha that we spoke about and nibbles your jellybean's toes, then repeats it! No Lifeguard in sight. Keep a track of who your jelibean is mixing with both in and out of School. Are they being dragged down by a strong current and swept away from all you believe in? This will be a major problem in 11+ school so make the best time now and ensure your jelibean knows the difference between baby sharks and baby dolphins. Jelibeans do tend to become bullies or get bullied.
My kids desperately want to be liked and in doing so, think that everyone that is being nice to them is their friend. Whoops this is a difficult one. Jelibeans are so grateful to be afforded the privilege of a mate to hang about that they will buy their friendship, only for that trust to be abused. Is it any wonder jelibeans end up so many of the times taken in and trust is a word of the past. It's scary out there for us, we have no idea really of whom we are swimming with, it's too much. Instil this into your jelibeans brains:
NOT EVERYONE THAT IS NICE TO YOU IS YOUR FRIEND - and trust me I have fallen foul of that one many times and again very recently.