The Starting School Survival Guide by Sarah Ebner is a book designed to help ease every parent’s anxieties – whether their own or their child’s – and help mums, dads and children navigate the practical and emotional maze of primary education.
As a parent who initially made the wrong choices when it came to primary schools and who has found the whole education maze more than a little complicated, I wish this book had been available years ago. It is excellent and I would recommend it to all parents who are beginning to think about their child starting school and to those whose children start school this September.
Written in a style that is down-to-earth and very readable, with quotes from parents and experts throughout, the book covers everything from how to choose a school in the first place, preparing your child for that very first day and how children learn, to food at school, friendships and bullying, headlice, playground politics and homework.
Despite having a child who is about to enter Year 4, I still found a lot of the book relevant to me, particularly the school run tips, the issue of school dinners vs packed lunches, managing homework and tips for navigating the friendship mind field.
The sections I will be recommending to family members currently choosing a primary school for their three year old include:
- Seven sensible and practical suggestions to make the transition from nursery to school a little easier
- Finding your way around league tables and OFSTED reports
- The Curriculum, SATS and curriculum levels
- The parents’ evening checklist
- Coping as a parent when your child leaves you home alone.
The book also includes a helpful section for working parents and also information for the parents of children with special needs. School holidays, illness and inset days are covered and there is an interesting section on the issue of taking your child on holiday during term time.
The book is written by Sarah Ebner, an experienced journalist and editor of The Times blog – School Gate, which has been named one of the ten best educational blogs in the world by the Washington Post. As a mother of two, Sarah has vast experience of the primary school sector and includes her own experiences and views in the book which adds to its authenticity, making it as a useful and supportive resource.
The book is packed full of relevant and up-to-date information with recommended websites and books for those wanting further information. It is full of real life experiences from mums and dads and answers questions many parents will have been afraid to ask. Helpful, supportive and packed full of useful advice, it is the only book parents of children starting school need to read.
Outstanding, in a word.
I received The Starting School Survival Guide free of charge to review. It is available from White Ladder Press RRP £10.99.