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Starting a Yr1 and a Yr5 child in new schools on Monday - any tips?

(16 Posts)
mintychocchip Mon 04-Jul-11 21:51:37

My family are moving to the UK over the summer and we're starting our DSs at new schools on monday - they are Yr1 and Yr5. They both seem pretty relaxed about it on the surface but then they say the odd thing that makes me think they're quite worried.

So, for example they wear uniform at their current school and attend the same primary which runs from 4yrs to 11. In the new schools, there is no uniform and they are starting at different schools - an infant school and a nearby junior school. When I asked DS1, who is 10yrs old, what clothes he wanted to pack for his first week at school, he said he was 'dreading' choosing what to wear for the first day and he seems quite freaked out by this aspect.

DS2, who is 6, had a few tears when he first found out DS1 was going to school in a different place to him and I'm worried that he might get upset again on monday morning and find it hard to separate from me.

I suppose I'm just wanting to be prepared for this weekend, if they have trouble sleeping or get nervous, I just want some ideas up my sleeve of ways to help them. Anyone else been in this situation?

mintychocchip Tue 05-Jul-11 10:14:10

Just bumping this!

Elibean Tue 05-Jul-11 10:21:51

I've not been in this situation, but didn't want to leave your post unanswered...

Have your boys been to visit their new schools? Has ds1 seen the 'sort of clothes' the other boys are wearing? It might help him to know he will 'fit in', being the kind of thing 10 yr olds worry about smile

With your younger one, I would find strategies for him to feel more connected to you and ds1 on his first day/week - maybe get him to think of a tiny object (pebble?) he can put in his pocket, or a little note you can write, or that ds1 can give him, so he takes a bit of his family in with him. I used to do that with dd1 when she got wobbly at start of year etc, it helped a bit (then again, it might be a girl thing??).

He might find it hard to separate from you, thats normal and ok...and should be fine, as long as the school responds well. Hopefully there is a nice TA who can take him from you and distract him, make him feel welcome and find him some friends to sit next to etc.

tbh, I think it would be strange if they weren't a little anxious this weekend...maybe you can remind them of other 'firsts' they may have been anxious about, that turned out brilliantly? And if you have an attitude of 'yes, its normal to be nervous when you're starting something new, but its no big deal and you'll be fine, they are just feelings' they will pick up on it smile

Good luck, I'm sure they - and you - will be fine!

mintychocchip Tue 05-Jul-11 10:32:59

Thanks elibean your ideas are really useful.

I have visited the school myself to choose them, but Monday will be the first time DSs have been there as we live in Ireland so difficult to just pop in! I asked if they would 'just visit' for an hour on their first day and both head teachers said they should come for the whole day as it will help them settle more quickly. I can remember what several of the boys were wearing - just boy stuff - jeans, sweatshirt, scruffy looking tops! So we'll be fine there.

I really like your idea for DS2 - he is very attached to cuddly toys etc and he has a few little keyring toys so I might suggest one of those in his pocket. What a sweet idea.

And yes I know it's a lot about my attitude but that's possibly where the problem lies - I will be fighting back the tears seeing them go off into new, unfamiliar places where they know noone. I did it a few times as a child and hated it but I know I have to get a grip there and be the grown-up!

munstersmum Tue 05-Jul-11 10:39:39

For DS1 create a uniform for him eg buy five different coloured polo shirts so his uniform is just a polo shirt & trousers. Buy cheap ones then if it turns out something else is 'cool' not a huge expense wasted.

For DS2 I would acknowledge his feelings and try not to worry too much on his behalf. DS changed school age6 and the class teacher buddied him with a different kid every day for the first week. That worked well & of course all the other boys wanted a turn at being a 'special' buddy. I think primary schools have got a lot better at this kind of thing.

Good luck........wear sunspecs if necessary !

wheresthepimms Tue 05-Jul-11 10:46:44

little toys in the pocket work well at break time too as they can get them out and then will be the center of attention to the other kids. We have moved lots and mine settle quickly, kids are adaptable even when we think they aren't. I used to put a note in the lunch box but my DS now won't open his lunch on the first day for fear of a note so maybe that would be for the younger one. The other thing we do is arrive bang on time on the first day, not early not late to avoid the hanging around getting anxious stage so they can go straight in with the other children. My DS had a new boy in his class yesterday and said they were all fighting over who was going to be his buddy for the rest of term whilst he settled, I hope your school does this it makes them feel welcome, most schools do now they are far more savvy about new kids fears nowadays.

Elibean Tue 05-Jul-11 11:18:45

Aah, minty, be grown-up on Monday but feel free to fall apart here smile

Sounds totally par for the course to me, horrible seeing your LOs going off to new places...you need to see them come out smiling a few times, to shift that one!

Honestly, let it all be a big deal - it is. Lots of praise for them (and yourself) for feeling wibbly and going ahead anyway. The schools will (should) expect them to be anxious, and work at helping them settle. Tell your ds1 what the other boys were wearing, if you haven't already, and maybe decide the day before!

mintychocchip Tue 05-Jul-11 11:41:37

thanks all! I hope I come back on here next week saying it's all gone great. I expect it will. But still there is lots to worry about. I remember that feeling at 10ish yrs old of wanting to be the same as everyone else - we're moving to sheffield and DS1 was asking me to say things in the local accent so he could get used to it - but I know he was really wanting to practice it, to try and sound yorkshire-ish and that made me feel a bit sad for him, that he knows he has an uphill struggle to fit in.

I will need those sunshades for sure and also MN incase it all goes horribly wrong!!

munstersmum Tue 05-Jul-11 12:06:00

Why not get DS1 to take a peek at the website of the two Sheffield football teams? Then he'll know their names, divisions etc. I think there's an ice hockey team too.

<mother who assumes all boys at least talk sport>

motherinferior Tue 05-Jul-11 12:10:10

Don't worry about the clothes thing - no need to create a pseudo-uniform! My two go to a non-uniform school and they are all quite chilled and relaxed in their clothes. They'll all be in jeans/combats and T-shirts.

aries12 Tue 05-Jul-11 19:17:07

I have been through this except my Dd started in Y2. It's hard at the start but it gets easier. My first piecce of advice is...insist on getting a tour of the school and meeting the teachers before you start. We also moved from Ireland...my Dd was due to start on a Monday... I phoned the school and informed them that we would only be visiting on Monday and starting on the Tues. This was well received by the school..they were extremely helpful and understanding...we went for our visit..got to see the layout of the school and the meet the teachers briefly. This really helped so on the Tues. the school were expecting my Dd and the class had made her a welcome card and organised special "friends" for her at the front door. I could not have asked for more.
I made no fuss on the day Dd was excited going in and I left immediately. It was hard but it was the best! She never shed a tear or complained and settled in straight away.
Next I recommend you study the school webiste in detail or ask for a prospectus...get to know PE/Games days...e.t.c.
Spend plenty of time with your children in the early days...talk to them, try and be there for collectons and drop offs, encourage play dates as soon as is practical. Keep them busy as much as possible (less time to think!!) I suspect it will be harder for the ten year old.
Good luck ..hope it all works out well for you!

mintychocchip Tue 05-Jul-11 21:16:59

thanks again for really great comments.

What a good idea munstermum! I hadn't thought about football teams so I mentioned this to DS1 and he couldn't get over one of the main teams being called sheffield wednesday! This led to the sort of silly conversation about 'london friday' and 'manchester monday' that I'm really glad we discussed it over the tea table rather than in school on monday with him causing offence to an ardent supporter!

We have choosen clothes now and tbh it was easy as he only has 1 pair of jeans, 1 cargo pants and couple of shorts so not much to choose from! I think when you're in uniform 5 days a week you don't need many other clothes so we're going to need to hit those sales.

thanks aries for your comments. I am going to stick with the monday whole day as the headteachers were both so accommodating in the first place and have enabled us to have places without going to appeal despite the junior being full, so I want to defer to their expertise on the settling issue. However we have looked at the websites extensively and my visit enabled me to pick up a brochure and feedback lots of information on sports etc.

Just to ask aries - did you find your Yr2 child was similar in terms of the work she had done in Ireland or was she ahead/behind? Did you have gaps in knowledge to fill? I know some of the gaps DS1 will have as the UK junior school has been teaching spanish and musical instruments for 3 yrs whereas these were not offered by the Irish school, but I'm less sure of DS2.

aries12 Tue 05-Jul-11 21:39:25

Your Ds2 should be fine in Y1. I am assuming he will be in Y2 in Sep. My Dd had been to a very good school in Ireland. She was ahead in reading, writing, spelling...however...the bad news is she was definately behind in Maths...I am now an "expert" in key satge 1 maths. Maths is taught differently here...everything at a much faster pace...little or no reinforcement...my opinion! She has had to catch up in Maths but I have been working hard to fill the gaps. There is more emphasis on Science here which is good.
Get your Ds2 to do 2,3,5,10 times tables, do basic fractions...halves e.t.c...get him familiar with coins and values, basic time, look up number bonds, basic shapes, venn diagrams and sorting, reading data from bar charts..this is wht my Dd covered in Y2.
Hope all goes smoothly for you on Monday..hols are around the corner!

mintychocchip Wed 06-Jul-11 10:39:56

Thanks aries. I agree that maths seems to be taught more slowly with loads more reinforcement in Ireland. The curriculum for DS2's year (equiv to Yr 1) is adding up numbers up to 10. No subtraction, no tables, no numbers over 10, except that they know the 'story of numbers between 10 and 20' whatever that means!

Fortunately, with a 10 yr old learning tables in the car each morning during the drive to school, DS2 has picked up the 10 and 2 times and nearly there with his 5x. I suspect other new maths things will come easily to him for the same reason - he copies big bro. I taught him number bonds to 10 the other night while getting him ready for bed and he got it so quickly, I was amazed so I think the slow, reinforcement approach in Ireland is a pretty good foundation.

On the negative side, he has been going into school saying how bored he is and how easy and boring the work is since about Christmas. So I am looking forward to seeing him challenged.

munstersmum Tue 12-Jul-11 10:00:20

Minty how did yesterday go? Hope the boys had a promising start !

mintychocchip Tue 12-Jul-11 23:03:12

Brilliantly thanks munstersmum for asking.

I forgot just how much children are interested in and like other children! Both the yr 1 and the yr5 classes seemed to be open, welcoming and offered help/friendship from the first day. So both boys are relaxed and happy in their new classes after 2 days. I am so relieved.

We did have a bad night on Sunday before they started. The 6 yr old had a nightmare and wet bed and the 10 yr old was awake too. So Monday morning was tough with tiredness and nerves making us all on edge. But all behind us now. Kids are great! They are so open to newcomers. Very refreshing. Actually the other parents seem the same, a few very friendly mums which really helped calm my nerves.

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