April 16th has been and gone. Your primary school choices have been sent to you and we hope you’re feeling comfortable with the local authority decisions. One thing we don’t want you to worry about, is whether your children are ‘school ready’!
Yes, the term exists for a reason and yes, there will be a reasonable level of preparation that teacher’s like to see. But they also understand that each child is a complete individual and that anyone who has been to nursery, will be very well prepared.
We chatted to our experienced pre-school team members to find out what Little Hands do to support children’s transitions to school. Throughout the month of June, we will be focussing on school transitions; including interviews with reception teachers and a Q & A for parents to contribute to.
Relationships are a huge part of school preparation. The bonds that children have at Little Hands, both with their key persons and their peers are intended to build lifelong skills for being around others. Children will have more of a connection with some children than others…as they will do in adulthood. Where children share interests, they are encouraged to explore this together, praise each other and celebrate similarities. Where children have differences, these are also celebrated and recognised as acceptable parts of what makes each person an individual. Conflict resolution is practiced and supported to encourage effective management of a range of situations and rebuilding of relationships.
Communicating is our access to the rest of the world. Whether that be at home or school. We are positive that each child has the opportunity to do the below things with you at home regularly:
- Taking part in conversations
- Asking questions
- Explaining own needs
- Having an interest in books
- Being able to retell experiences
Children of course take part in these things throughout their day at nursery; developing their sense of self, their confidence, understanding and love of learning.
Routines give us all a sense of security. They take pressure away from wondering what comes next? There are preparations that can start soon, to make this change of routine much calmer. Such as;
- including your child in the process of buying/selecting their uniform
- eating at set times throughout the day which will mimic those of school
- occasionally leaving the house at the same time as you will for school travel
- having a healthy bedtime routine giving energy for the day
- making the journey to school and practice dressing in school uniform
The process of getting dressed in to a school uniform is likely to be different to that of nursery clothes. It’s helpful to practice buttons, trousers, polo shirts etc ahead of time to avoid additional delays before school. If it can be made in to a fun learning experience, they are even more likely to enjoy doing this independently come September. Little Hands have a range of school uniform available for children to practice while they are here too.
Self care and independence are great skills to have in primary school when there are a few less staff members.
Being able to wash hands independently, wipe noses and ask for help in certain circumstances are always helpful to support a smooth school day.
Thinking about mealtimes and especially packed lunches is also helpful. For example, anything packed in a lunch box will need to be opened. Lunch supervisors will of course be available to support each child, but being able to open packaging themselves will support their mealtimes.
Children who have been attending nursery will already have practice separating from their main carer. Thanks to COVD-19, they have also practiced leaving parents at the door (always a silver lining).
Labelling your child’s belonging will help to support them in taking care of their belonging. Group sizes at school will be a little larger and things may look very similar. Perhaps using tinyme.com dishwasher safe labels with a familiar image or your child’s first name will help them to recognise their belongings amongst the crowd.
Eating is something each child at Little Hands does amazingly well. From being able to use a knife, fork and spoon with very little support; to trying new and exciting foods.
Attention skills continue to grow as your child ages and our pre school staff are experts when it comes to planning activities which hold a child’s attention. Your children will already have the ability to stay with an activity they enjoy for long periods of time and this should support their transition to longer lessons at school.
Special skills are possessed by each and every child. They each have something different to offer, are passionate in their own ways and will flourish in to incredible human beings. We like to think that additional skills promoted within the nursery include;
- Being kind
- Being respectful
- Sense of self-worth
- Confident voices
- Knowing what they are good at
- Knowing what makes them special
Parents at home can continue to support transitions by learning the name of your child’s new teacher and if possible, obtaining a picture to share with them. The school will be in touch with you over the summer term to arrange settling visits and other plans…engaging with these will help to ease pressure for children and parents whilst increasing their familiarity with their new adventure.
So we think you’ll agree… your children are so ready for school! They have so many skills which will support them on their newest adventure and we can’t wait to share more school preparation information with you throughout the month of June.
As always, the nursery leadership team and your child’s key person is always available should you have anything to discuss relating to school starts.