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11 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Primary School in a New Country

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If your little one is about to wave goodbye to preschool, you probably have only one question in your mind: How to prepare your child for primary school? The change can be overwhelming for both parents and kids because it is a huge milestone and every mistake you make can impact your child's future education.

It is even harder if you are moving to another country. Relocating your entire life is stressful enough for adults, but for kids, it can be a transforming experience.

Preparing Your Child For Primary 1 in a New Country


Growing up is hard on its own, and settling down in a new country and a new school can make things even worse. Good planning and proper support can do wonders, helping make the transition painless and ensuring a successful beginning of primary schooling for your little student.

We have made a list of 11 tips to prepare your child for a primary school in a new country. There is much to be done, so let's start immediately!

Tip 1: Emotional preparation is the basis of success

Both you and your little one have to become familiar with the new environment before school starts. Give your child time to adjust to the new country before introducing him or her to the school. New places and new people can dishearten a kid. So speak about fun aspects of the new country and school - new friends, clubs, activities.

Talk to your little one, and make sure you share all the important information. Your child might not understand everything at once, but he or she will appreciate being treated as an adult and accept the new circumstances more easily.

Show your confidence in your child and that will help them build up their confidence.

Tip 2: Get to know the new school together

Once you are all set up in your new home, it is time to get to know the school. It would be best to attend a school tour with your child. Be sure to gather all the information regarding the application process and the required documents while you are there, too.

Invictus International School offers a school tour that helps future students get familiar with the new surroundings. Meeting the people who work at the school, or even your child's future teachers can be highly beneficial for both you and your child. On the first day of school, the little one will feel like stepping into a familiar and welcoming environment and not the scary unknown.

If you are unable to attend school tour sessions during the summer, you can visit the website instead. Being in a new country, the school you choose must offer an internationally recognized primary school program, an inclusive environment, and skilled educators that can work with kids of different backgrounds.

Talk to other parents on forums about the education system and schools in their country. You will have a better understanding of what to expect, especially if you had to miss the school orientation.

Tip 3: Help your child meet new friends

Kids that have attended preschool prior to starting primary school have probably made a few good friends along the way. Coming to a new country puts them in an unfavourable position. Not only will they have to change the environment, but also make new friends all over again.

Connecting with other parents as soon as you have the opportunity and setting up playdates and outings will encourage your child to open up and form new friendships.

Tip 4: Teach your child important social skills

If your child has not been preparing for Year 1 at a kindergarten, chances are that he or she lacks certain social skills crucial for successful school life. The good news is that some of these skills can be acquired through everyday socializing, too.

For example, a child that is ready for school understands the importance of taking turns, inviting others to join in, and listening to what others have to say. Young children often have a strong sense of ownership, but in school, they have to learn to share. Talk to your child, and encourage him or her to be empathetic towards others.

Going through classroom routines is highly beneficial as well. Role-play to teach your kid to raise hands when asking questions or permission to go to the toilet. Pretend you are a food vendor at the canteen so that your kid can practise ordering food and handling money during recess.

Tip 5: Help your child cross all the developmental milestones for school-age children

Developmental milestones are a set of benchmarks consisting of different abilities or skills your child should have at a certain age. Even though children develop at their own pace, it would be wise to at least check if your kid is developing within his or her age group and perhaps work on some skills that may be lacking.

What life skills are most important for primary school?

By the time Year 1 starts, a child should be able to use the toilet independently. Prepare your little one to become independent with self-care (washing dirty hands, using an apron to protect clothing, cleaning up) so that he or she could play outside in the mud, water, or sand during recess.

Preparing your child for primary school should also include teaching him or her to dress & undress, and eat food independently. If your child has not learned to use cutlery at kindergarten, teach him or her at home.

Tip 6: Secure a vigorous academic start

You can kick-start your kid's academic development by reading with your child. Exposing your curious tot to books and stories will teach him or her to listen and actively participate in story-telling. Your kid need not be able to read, but you can introduce some letters. Teach your little one to write his or her name, that's a good start!

Children usually master simple counting by the time they start primary school. Make sure your kid knows how to count to twenty and tell time, too. Numerous super-fun sing-alongs can help!

Tip 7: Fill up the school bag with necessary school supplies

Get your child ready for the new school year early. Shopping for school supplies will be a fun experience and an exciting rite of passage.

It would be best to contact the school for their specific supply list and avoid spending money on things your kid will not need. Let your child choose a new school bag, lunch box, and stationary and he or she will look forward to the first day of school and the opportunity to show off the new stuff.
Tip 8: Label everything your child is going to take to school

It might seem like too much but you really need to label every belonging your child is taking into school! It is essential for your own sanity but your child's teacher will thank you for it as well. It can be really difficult to find a missing item that is not named, especially when other kids have the same or very similar things.

Tip 9: Familiarise with the curriculum taught at school

Schools offer different curriculums and therefore it is imperative that parents familiarize themselves with the one taught at their kid's future school. First and foremost, being in a new country, you have to make sure that your child will understand the language of instruction. Invictus International School offers its students the option of taking classes in English and French, English and Khmer, or English and Mandarin.

The teacher-student ratio is important as well. The more individual attention your child receives, the quicker will he or she adapt to the classroom routine and start learning. Invictus International School has a maximum teacher-student ratio of 1:25, securing close interaction with students and high-quality education.

Tip 10: Introduce your child to the journey to and from school

Your little one might be too young for going to school alone, but you should still familiarise him or her with the journey to and from school. If the child is going to use the school bus for the first time in life, do a transportation practice run by taking him or her for a ride on a public bus that passes nearest to the school. All this helps create a sense of security.

Tip 11: Create a school-friendly environment and routine at home

Primary school is the very start of your tot's education, and even though teachers can do wonders when it comes to learning new routines, you need to do your part at home as well. Start by setting up a workspace at home so that your kid can finish the homework without any disturbances.

Your kid will need to rest when he or she gets home from school, so do not expect too much. Limit extra-curricular activities so that your kid could have time to adjust, finish homework, and play with new friends. Create a timetable and schedule (including homework time, recess, and playtime) to ease the transition to the new routine.

Working as a team for success


You and your child should work as a team to prepare for primary school in a new country. Follow the provided tips, but most of all talk to your little one and encourage him or her to savour the time in a new school.

Most parents feel anxious early on, but as soon as the kids start talking about their teacher, classes, new friends, and fun time at school with a smile on their faces, all the fears are gone. We are sure you will be overjoyed too!

If you search for an international school, you may want to consider Invictus International School which offers the world-renowned International Primary Curriculum. The choice of school can make everything easier, so make sure you search and find the best primary school for your kid!


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