Caroline Pringle, our Families and Professionals Advisor for Child Enquiries, shares some tips for the new school year
I appreciate your thoughts might not be on the Autumn term just yet. However, schools in Scotland break up on 30th June and in the rest of UK it’s mid July, and I wanted to give you plenty of time to plan. Hopefully there has been less disruption for your child this school year, and we’ve got back to some normality following on from the school closures in the previous year due to the pandemic.
So…….. before we know it, the end of term will be here!! Some parents may be thinking of the six weeks' summer holiday ahead with some trepidation; this is yet another transition and change of routine for your child. There will then be the preparation for the transition back to school in the Autumn term. These changes may mean a new class and teacher or even a move to senior school in August/September.
Transition from one environment or activity to another can cause high levels of anxiety for a child with Fragile X. Should your child be moving to senior school most settings will be using a transition plan and your child will be having introductory visits to their new school. These visits can be with their classmates, but hopefully additional visits will be arranged to enable your child to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings. However, they must then deal with the long summer holiday break before they start there.
It is important for those moving to a new class to acknowledge that some things may not change in the new school year, e.g., they will still have lunch in the dining hall, playtimes will still be the same etc. In addition, I am aware that some schools provide photos (normally presented in a booklet) at the end of term ready for when going back in the Autumn term. This will include a child’s new desk, coat hook, toilets etc., and most importantly a photo of their new teacher. There is a difficulty that many primary settings' pupils (and families) are not informed of the new teacher until a few days before the end of term, so it can all be a little rushed for them. Therefore, it’s worth asking if school can prepare the booklet as much as they can in advance and add a photo of the new teacher at the last moment.
It might be worth sharing these with school after the half term break.
Essex-based charity SNAP have developed a useful downloadable guide full of practical ideas to help with the transition and changes associated with the move to secondary school.
Change is difficult to process and with the summer holidays ahead, it is choosing the right time to share and remind your child of all the information. It may be just a few days before the start of the new term is the best time, but for others it will be preparation throughout the holiday especially if getting a new uniform, getting measured for school shoes etc.
Visual aids such as schedules may still be a useful resource for the daily activities in the holidays to enable your child to know what is going to happen next. Therefore, please don’t forget to link to our other blogs covering visual aids Using Visual Aids (fragilex.org.uk) and social stories Using Social Stories from Early Years to Adulthood (Part 1) (fragilex.org.uk) . I am more than happy to support you with visual prompts and social stories tailored to your own child’s needs.
I hope the school holidays and the transition to the new school year go well for you all.
Please get in touch if I can help you further, firstname.lastname@example.org