How To Prepare Your Child for Preschool
A Shaws Preschool Guide for Parents
Get Your Child Ready for the First Day of Preschool
Starting preschool is an exciting time for the whole family! Your child is probably feeling excited, as well as a bit nervous about his or her first day in kindergarten, childcare or preschool. To help you along, we have put together a parent’s guide covering tips for the first day of preschool.
Click on topic to learn more.
1) How To Prepare My Child for Preschool
Is there anything I can do to prepare my child for preschool before their first day?
✱ Talk to your child about starting preschool. Talk your child through what the first day of preschool will be like, including the many fun things they will be doing at preschool, for example playing in the playground. Mentally prepare them for this new and exciting experience.
✱ Take your child to visit the preschool. This will allow your child to become familiar with the surroundings, and maybe even a few faces around the preschool. At Shaws Preschool, we encourage new children to come and play in the playground to familiarise them with the environment (subject to safe distancing measures at place at the time).
✱ Let your child choose their school bag and water bottle, and involve him/her in packing these things.
Must my child be potty trained before starting school?
No, your child does not need to be potty trained. When you do start potty training your child, do remember to speak to the teachers so we can support you during the potty training.
My child is not used to wearing a mask or face shield. How can I prepare my child?
Children above the age of 2 must wear masks or face shields (per the current rules). Prior to coming to school, do allow your child to wear the mask or face shield at home for short periods. You may ask your child to put the mask on his/her teddy bears or other soft toys while he/she is playing with them. The aim is to make it a regular part of their day. If your child is still uncomfortable, do not worry. Let us know and we can work slowly with your child. It is much easier at school, as the day is full of activities and excitement, most children don’t even notice the masks or face shields.
2) What to Pack for Preschool
What should I pack in my child’s bag?
Here is the list of things to pack in your child’s bag daily:
✱ Water bottle
✱ Hat for outdoor play
✱ Snack box(es) – optional and nut free, no pork/lard
✱ Milk bottle(s) with powder packed in individual servings (if your child drinks milk during the day)
✱ Diapers (for children who are not potty trained) – 2 (half-day), 4 (full day)
✱ Change of clothes – recommended 1 set (half-day) / 2 sets (full-day)`
✱ Small bath towel
✱ Reusable laundry bags for soiled clothes
✱ 4 clean masks in a ziplock bag labelled “Clean Masks” (this is for all children, including children wearing face shields)
✱ For children wearing reusable masks, an empty ziplock bag labelled “Used Masks”
One bag per child, and please do keep size of school bag manageable – small enough for your child to carry on his back. Bags with wheels are strictly not allowed (for children’s safety.
Your child may want to bring in something special and familiar. It could be your child’s favourite teddy, or a photo of Mum or Dad. Please let them pack it in their bag, but do let the teachers know.
What should I pack for a snack
At Shaws, we serve fruit for morning snack, and our afternoon snack varies depending on the menu (if you need a copy of the menu, do let us know). So it is not necessary to pack a snack from home. However if your child is new to school, we do encourage you to pack a small snack with food your child is familiar with. Any healthy snack which you know your child enjoys would be good. Please avoid chocolates and sugary items. Shaws is a nut free zone, so no nuts please.
What do I pack for my child on Water Play (or Messy Play) day?
On Messy Play or Water Play day, children can come to school in their swim wear. Do put a small towel and a change of clothes for your child in the bag (as mentioned above in the section of things to pack for your child).
They do not need to wear their uniform on this day. To find out which day your child has Messy Play or Water Play, refer to your child’s class timetable.
*Note – Messy Play replaces Water Play on rainy days or when there are covid restrictions on waterplay.
Labeling of items
We encourage parents to label all your child’s items, with stickers or with a marker pen. This includes water bottles, snack boxes, hats, bags (we will provide your child with a bag tag on their first week), uniforms, and shoes (you may want to label the bottom of the shoes). If anything does go missing for any reason, please let us know. We also have a Lost and Found at the front of the school.
3) What to Wear on First Day of Preschool
Must my child wear the school uniform?
Yes, Shaws has a uniform which is to be worn daily. This can be collected prior to starting or on the first day of school. If your child refuses to wear their uniform in the first few days, for any reason at all, don’t worry. Just let him/her come to school in his/her choice of clothes, and pop the uniform in the bag.
There are so many new things going on when a child starts school, wearing a school uniform is not a priority at this time. If your child does wear any other clothes, be prepared to get a bit of paint on them.
What shoes should my child wear to school?
For the safety of the children, they should wear covered shoes, especially on days where there is Shaws Little League Sports. If your child is wearing sandals, do ensure they are sporty sandals that are good for outdoor play.
For the younger children, we recommend shoes that are easy to take on and off, which your child can learn to do by themselves. The teachers will be there to help, however we will also encourage the children to have a go on their own.
4) What Will My Child Eat in Preschool
My child can’t eat by himself? Will someone help him?
Don’t worry. At school, if your child needs help or needs to be fed, we will help. Slowly we will teach your child to eat independently. You can work with us too, and encourage your child to eat by himself/herself too at home too. However, remembering that your child is going through so many new changes when starting school, we do not want to overwhelm your child.
Your child will get there. Even if your child can eat by themselves, there may be days where your child is tired, and needs some help. We are always here to help!
What if my child has allergies or dietary restrictions?
Please let us know of any allergies or dietary restrictions, and we will take note of these. You would have filled out a form on this prior to starting at Shaws Preschool, and we ask all parents to complete a new form every year so we can update our records.
5) Activities/ Schedule on First Day of Preschool
What if my child does not want to join the group?
When a child starts school, it is perfectly normal for your child not to want to join the group, and instead observe from a short distance away. Your child will join in over time.
I want my child to have a nap. However what if my child does not want to sleep during nap time?
Some children are too stimulated to nap on the first few days of school. And some children fall asleep with exhaustion at the lunch table. It will take time for a new child to get used to a new routine. We will work with your child, and take it at his/her own pace.
What if I do not want my child to nap in the afternoon?
For Nursery Two to Kindergarten Two, nap time is optional. Do let us know if your child will having a nap, or joining the ShawsPlay activities (refer to the timetable for details).
Most Pre-Nursery and Nursery One children still do require a nap after the busy morning activities. However should you not wish for your child to nap, do let us know.
Should I choose the 3 day programme for my child?
Children work best with routine. Which is why we always recommend the 5-day programme. This allows children a full five days in a row to settle into a new routine. We are not saying that parents should absolutely not send your child for a 3-day programme. Just bear in mind that, especially if it is on alternate days, your child will likely take longer to settle into school.
Will all the children have Shaws Little League sports?
Yes, Shaws Little League sport in the morning is for all children, including the Pre-Nursery children, twice a week (refer to the timetable for details). Children should come to school in sports shoes on these days.
The Nursery One to Kindergarten Two children have Shaws Little League Specialised Sports once a week in the afternoons (refer to the ShawsPlay timetable for more details on this).
6) How to Communicate with My Child’s Preschool Teacher
Where can I find all the information for my child’s class?
You can again access to your child’s class Information Pack Dashboard via Shaws Preschools online parent portal Little Lives. Little lives is available to our existing parents here, you will receive your unique password for the portal once your child has started school. This Information Pack Dashboard contains all important information including the calendar of events which include event dates, Parent Teacher Meetings and School Closure days for the year.
It also includes curriculum information for each term, the menu, class timetables, the latest Covid19 safety measures and much more. Please do ensure you have access to this dashboard.
How do I log into the school communication portal?
We will send you the login details on or before your child’s first day of school. However do remember to give us a call for urgent matters as the portal is usually not checked during class time, when the teachers are with the children.
How will I know how my child is doing at school after I leave him for the first time?
The teachers and Principal will communicate with you directly to update you on how your child is doing. But if you’re worried, please give us a call, and we will give you an immediate update. After your child has settled in, the regular updates for all children will be on the school communication portal.
7) Transport, Drop Off and Pick up
Tips for drop off
Here are some tips we have for drop off:
✱ Drop off early or on time – while the children are enjoying free play, and before the class starts. Most children love playing outdoors!
✱ Drop off at the same time daily. Children love routine, so this is a great way to start the routine.
✱ Keep your morning routine at home consistent. Again, children love routine, and this sets the tone for their day.
✱ Be happy at drop off. Remind your child what a great day they are going to have at school. Remind your child that you will be pickng up your child at the end of the day and will want to hear all about their day.
✱ Keep drop offs short. Children can sense any reluctance parents may have when leaving their child, so a quick goodbye lets your child settle in quickly without any
Will my child be fine on the school bus?
Our wonderful school bus drivers and bus “aunties” are experienced with young children. They will ensure your child has a pleasant trip on the bus to and from school.
Can I come along for the first few days?
Most definitely! One parent is very welcome in the classroom for the first two mornings to help settle your child (this changes due to the safe distancing rules set by ECDA, and we will update you if there are any changes).
Each child is different, and will have a different rate of assimilation. If your child
requires more than two days, the teachers will discuss this with you and work
out the best plan for your child.
To help your child settle in as easily as possible, here are some useful tips.
✱ Do arrive early, while the children are still in the outdoor playground. This is so your child has the opportunity to be comfortable in the outdoors, before moving indoors with the group.
✱ Only 1 adult is needed to settle your child (any more may confuse or upset your child)
✱ This person should ideally be the same person over the settling period.
✱ Please allow your child to explore his/her new environment. It is fine if he/she does not join in all the activities with the rest of the children, and choose to explore the classroom. It is a new environment and we want new joiners to feel comfortable in.
✱ Our teachers will not come too close to you and your child on your first day. Instead, they will observe parent and child behavior, which will help us get to know your child a little better.
✱ Our teachers will take your child from you once you leave (we do not wish to come between a child and their parent). Please be sure to tell your child when you leave and tell them when you will be back.
✱ During this time, the teachers and Principal will communicate with you, giving you updates and photos as to how your child is doing.
✱ If after you have left your child continues to cry and the teachers are unable to settle your child, they will call you to come back earlier than planned.
✱ It is not uncommon for it to take three weeks or more for a child to fully settle. Our teachers will do their best to encourage them to settle as quickly as possible, working closely with you.
✱ At the one-month stage we email you with our observations as to how well your child is settling in and how they are progressing at school.
Who can pick up my child?
The registering parent is the main person who can pick up any child. In the registration form, the registering parent would have indicated others who are allowed to pick up or drop off a child. You can add additional persons by letting us know – you will have to provide this in writing (via email, on the portal or over whatsapp) together with a photo of the person.
What happens when it is time for me to say goodbye to my child at preschool?
On the second day, depending on how your child is at school, the teacher may suggest it is time for you to say goodbye, and leave for a little while. When this happens, there will be a teacher that will be dedicated to your child, to help him/her settle in. Your child may cry when you leave; this is normal. It is important that you say goodbye and let your child know when you will be coming back (e.g. after lunchtime).
Once you leave, the teachers will do their best to settle and redirect your child. If your child continues to cry, we will give you a call to come back and we may try again the next day. When you do come back, do come back smiling. Your child can sense your energy and positivity. Talk about the exciting things your child did during the day.
When you leave, and if you prefer to wait around the school vicinity, it is best to stay out of your child’s view. This will give him/her a chance to settle in better, without distractions or interruptions, especially if he/she is doing well, participating and is engaged. This will also give your child the chance to build trust and rapport with the teachers who are comforting him/her for a smoother transition in the coming days.
I am unable to come along for my child’s first day. Can my child still start school?
Yes, absolutely your child can start school. There will be one dedicated person to ensure your child settles in, and we will update you during the day. Please prepare your child (refer to the section above.) And ensure someone is available on the phone should we need to contact you for any reason, including to ask questions or clarification.
8) Crying and Other Settling In Issues
What if my child cries at school?
If your child cries, and we are unable to pacify your child, we will give you a call. We will discuss with you whether to give your child more time to settle down, or whether you should come into school.
What happens if my child settles in well in the first week, but in the second week cries when I drop him/her off?
This is perfectly normal. In the first week, some children settle in well. In the second week, the novelty may have worn off, and they need some time to adjust. What is important is that your child stops crying shortly after drop off and enjoys the rest of the day at school. In a few days, most children will adjust.
Do share with the teachers any concerns you may have or any changes in behaviour that may be observed at home so we can work together to help your child settle in quickly.
Why is my child taking longer to settle in than the other children?
Some children have a harder time adjusting to change than others. Some may have a personality that is more cautious, or slower to open up to new situations. We will work with each child’s individual personality and needs. Generally, the older toddlers do take a little longer to settle in than the younger children.
Again, share with the teachers any concerns you may have or any changes in behaviour that may be observed at home so we can work together to help your child settle in quickly.
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