FIRST-GRADER ADAPTATION TO SCHOOL: AN IMPORTANT STAGE IN EVERY CHILD’S LIFE
Entering school and starting school and multiplication sets worksheets is a stressful moment in the life of every child, which dramatically changes their whole way of life. Carelessness and play are replaced by a new activity – learning, a new environment, a new routine, new acquaintances, the need to adjust to the new rules and requirements, which sometimes go against the wishes of the child. Along with joy, excitement, interest and surprise first graders experience anxiety, confusion, tension. All of this puts tremendous physical, mental and emotional stress on children. The period of adaptation to school is very difficult for children. In the first weeks of going to school, first grade students’ body resistance decreases, their sleep and appetite may be impaired, their temperature may rise, and chronic diseases may get worse. Children are capricious, irritable and cry without obvious reason.
The adaptation period in different conditions lasts from two months to a year. This process largely depends on the child’s personal characteristics, the degree of readiness for school (not only intellectual, but also psychological and physical), on whether the child is socialized enough, has developed cooperation skills, list of kindergarten words, whether he or she attended kindergarten.
Some children quickly enough are included in new, school life. Their adaptation period lasts from two weeks to two months. About the successful passage of this process, according to psychologists, you can talk if the child is cheerful, calm, quickly finds friends among classmates, speaks well of teachers and peers, does homework without stress, easily accepts the rules of school life, the new daily routine is comfortable for him (no crying in the morning, goes to sleep normally in the evening, etc.). The child has no fears about peers and teachers, he reacts adequately to the teacher’s remarks.
For other children, the adaptation period is strongly delayed (up to one year), and the associated manifestations acquire a psychosomatic character (the child begins to fall ill often).
Visible signs of maladaptation include:
bad mood in the morning;
headaches and abdominal pain, vomiting;
fear of the impending work in class (sometimes it is so great that the child cannot go to school at all on the crucial days)
Complaints about classmates, the teacher’s demands;
Difficulties in learning activities;
It often happens that external manifestations of disadaptation in children are the same, but have completely different causes, and in each case, it is necessary to deal individually.
For example, the reason for disadaptation to the subject side of learning activities may be insufficient intellectual and psychomotor development of the child, or lack of assistance and attention from parents. The inability to control one’s behavior at will is a consequence of the lack of external norms and restrictions. Incorrect upbringing combined with adults’ disregard for the individual features of the child can cause an inability to accept the pace of school life (especially in somatically weakened children with a weakened type of nervous system). School neurosis, “school phobia,” inability to resolve the contradiction between the family and school “we” can be caused by the fact that the child cannot go outside of the family community – the family does not let him or her out (it is encountered more often with children whose parents unconsciously use them to solve their problems).
Thus, the successful adaptation of the child to school largely depends on the parents. The articles “Tips for First-Graders’ Parents” contain a number of universal recommendations on how to help a child adapt to school. However, if the pupil for a long time can not get used to the new environment, it is necessary to apply to the help of a psychologist who will help to find out the causes of the situation and prompt the methods and ways of educational work which would help the child to adapt better to school. Read more about this in the article “Why Doesn’t a First-Grader Want to Learn? Letting the process go unchecked is inadmissible – the first year determines the rest of the child’s school life, during which time he or she makes extremely important steps in their development.