Letting go

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By Sue Cowleyeducational author, presenter and trainer.

Parents often have concerns when their children move into nursery, Reception or the more formal setting of Year 1. Here Sue Cowley offers advice on how to to reassure them during this period of change

Letting go

Inevitably, it is difficult to ‘let go’ of your child, and to entrust them to other adults, no matter how trustworthy they are. Education has moved on a great deal in the time since today’s parents left school. This means that they can feel unsure about what actually goes on in the modern nursery or school setting. This uncertainty is often exacerbated by media reports about educational ‘problems’, such as poor behaviour, failing schools and issues around learning to read.

Parent company

As children grow up, the parental role becomes increasingly about helping them learn how to be independent. A key part of this is supporting children in the move into childcare or educational settings. The ideal parent would have already helped their child to listen well, to have good levels of concentration and, of course, to be polite. On a practical level, this ideal parent would also have encouraged the older child to develop independence in eating, dressing, going to the toilet and so on. In reality, practitioners will come across children whose parents have helped them to reach various levels of independence.

This topic has a particular resonance for me, because as well as being a teacher, I am also the parent of a Reception-aged child. Even with a background in education, and a good awareness of what goes on in schools, I still have that feeling of nervousness and uncertainty when I approach the school gates.

Despite my prior knowledge, I am not entirely sure how I might best help and support my child. So, just think how tricky this time is for those parents who have no previous links to schools, beyond attending one as a child. Bear in mind that, when asked, ‘What did you do at nursery/school today?’, the average child will helpfully answer ‘nothing’. This can leave parents in a position of uncertainty and confusion.

Worries that may affect parents

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