Read the blog from our Head of Pre-Prep, Allision Skipper all about getting your child ready for school and how our Transition Class if the perfect place to do it.
Preparing Your Child for School
If your child is starting school, you may be wondering how to help prepare them for one of the most exciting journeys when they begin to sow the seeds for a lifetime of enquiry and interest. Schools don’t expect children to know their alphabet or numbers or even be able to write when they begin. It is better to concentrate on reading stories and singing songs to your children picking out sounds and rhymes. Play counting games and bring numbers into your everyday life such as climbing the stairs or counting out snacks. Take them on walks of discovery and notice things around them. Give them opportunities to investigate in the garden and develop their own pretend play. However, as a guidance, preparation in the following areas would be hugely beneficial in helping your child to settle as they move into school life.
Give your child opportunity to meet with other children to play and share activities and toys. Children learn so much through these early play experiences and the opportunities to investigate the world around us. Model good sharing and kind hands and words to your children and join their pretend play to show them how to do this, if necessary, gradually stepping back to allow them to begin to play well with other children. Encourage your child to use a knife and fork at lunchtime and to speak when their food is in their tummy! Encourage them to say please and thank you.
Listening and Attention
The school day is a busy one and children will be given lots of spoken instructions as the day progresses. It is tricky for young children to draw themselves away from an activity they are enjoying to stop and listen! Teachers build this skill gradually by increasing carpet listening time slowly through the course of the children’s time in school. At home you can help by ensuring that you have your child’s full attention before asking them to do something new. Start with one step instructions and then gradually increase these, for example, can you get your shoes please? Then move on to can you go upstairs and collect your shoes please? Play the game Simon Says!
Communication and Language
Children all learn to communicate at different times, and you are not alone if you are worried about your child’s communication and understanding. You will be astounded at the progress children make with communication as they begin to interact more with their peer group and their teachers. Teachers are trained to support this development and to ensure that they can communicate effectively with the children and understand their likes and dislikes and their emotional needs through gesture and behaviour if needs be in the early stages.
Dressing and Undressing
Learning to get ready for playtime, putting on your coat and wellies or changing for PE lessons can be quite a challenge for young children when they come to school if they haven’t had opportunities to do this at home. We help our children at home out of love for them but also a need to get to the next stage of our day! However, giving them time to do these tasks themselves in the morning is time well spent from as early as you are able to do this starting very simply with wellies and shoes. We get quite a mix when children join us in school from those who are changed before we have time to blink to those who stand and wait for us to do everything for them!
At Langley School we have a purpose-built Transition class that prepares our children for this journey through school in the year preceding the usual school entry point of Reception. This was set up because we felt that we could offer our children a strong start on this journey with an Early Years Teacher who is a specialist in this field. We know that people have busy lives and want the best for their children and this provision does all of those things I have mentioned above and much much more. We take each child as an individual and offer them challenges in their learning at a pace and level that suits them with a large majority of them joining the Reception class with confidence and a solid foundation on which to build their education as well as a love of learning and a genuine love of school. The opportunities these children have are the same as those in the rest of our Pre-Prep with weekly swimming lessons, forest school, PE, music and lots of outside learning challenges which the children love.
Allison Skipper, Head of Pre-Prep at Langley School