Preparing primary school children for the return to school

Posted: 30th June 2020

Helping children adjust to the return to primary school

29th June 2020 will see the first ‘bubbles’ of children across Wales returning to school for the first time since March. At Westbourne we have taken a more cautious approach and reopen our doors on 6th July, all the while retaining full online support until the end of the academic year.

To help the younger year groups prepare for a smooth start back to primary school next week, Mrs Chinnock, Head of Westbourne Prep shares her expertise.

westbourne primary school penarth head teacher

Mrs Chinnock, Head of Westbourne Prep with a few of our lovely students

Last week, we saw the Welsh Education AM announce that schools in Wales were to return from Monday 29th June. The impending return to full-time, face-to-face learning in schools is an exciting time for pupils and teachers and, no doubt, a relief for many parents. It is also a critical time regarding maximising learning opportunities, whilst keeping as safe as we possibly can.

The coronavirus outbreak is one of the most unprecedented events in living memory and the challenges of lockdown have affected us all, creating increased levels of anxiety and stress. As our school release plans for reopening after two months of lockdown, many parents and pupils will be feeling worried and anxious.

Here are some tips and suggestions to support our school community in managing this transition back to school for all students.

Start the conversation

For any plan to succeed, its success relies on the preparation.

As parents, we need to prepare children for the new ‘normal’. Children will need to understand that primary school will not be like it was before, rather there will be a long period of adjustment where our school day gradually moves towards something that looks like a ‘new normal’, sprinkled with bits of what it was like before.

Talk with your child to see if they have worries or concerns, but above all reassure them that Westbourne is doing everything we can to keep them safe. We have recently launched a short film outlining the measures we are taking. Why not watch this together as a family and discuss any concerns or worries.


Address anxiety

From what I have heard from many parents, our pupils can not wait to get back to school. However, some children may have anxiety about leaving their parents and returning to school – what happens if they catch coronavirus, what if someone in their family does, why do they have to go back and leave family and siblings at home.

These are common worries but reassure your child that it will be a very gentle transition back, with the main focus on being able to reconnect with friends and teachers.

Westbourne Prep teachers can not wait to see their young pupils again, however, hugs of welcome sadly will not be possible in these early days after lockdown, helping your child understand the concept of social distancing and how friendship can be displayed in many ways without contact, will help them adjust when they come back…practising a few air high fives for example!  There are lots of new signs and floor markers to help them remember.


Re-establish the routine

Sleep: Being a parent to an 11-year old and 13-year old, I must admit to being a little less strict on bedtimes. However, with a possible return date now in the diary – re-establishing a regular bedtime routine will prepare students for the earlier start. Moving ‘lights out’ 20-minutes earlier each week, may help it from becoming too great a shock to the system!

Happy Birthday Songs: Hand washing is set to be a more regular feature of the day for the foreseeable future and helping your child in establishing a really good 20-second, hand washing routine – singing the Happy Birthday song twice if need be – before they go back to school will support them in keeping safe throughout the day,





Categories: News