Being school ready
Choochoos recognises the importance in making every transition for a child as smooth and positive as possible. Transitions can cause unsettling for any child and family, therefore ensuring the transition is meeting the needs of the child/family is vital. During the transition to school, Choochoos strives to make it as smooth as possible for every child, due to the careful planning and time we give for each child.
Choochoos works closely with every school that our children will attend, to ensure a smooth process for any child making their transition from Choochoos to school.
The first day of primary school is a big day for both parents/carers and the child. Choochoos will support parents/carers and the child to embark on this journey acting as the perfect transition.
As a parent/carer, preparing a child themselves is no easy task and that’s where the child’s key person will help support the child with the skills and knowledge to start school. Preparing children for school is a fundamental role for Choochoos, teaching children social skills, turn taking, independence, confidence, interaction, team work, self help skills and so much more. Some children may even require additional support in learning some of these skills for school, e.g. self help skills, how to eat with a knife and fork, put their coat on, etc. Choochoos work closely with parents/carers, so we can work together to develop this at nursery and continue to develop this at home for the child.
‘Staff are so friendly and I feel Choochoos does a good job at preparing the children for school’, (Parent, July 2021).
To help aid the transition to school, Choochoos does:
– From birth follow the EYFS (Early years foundation stage guidance) to give us the knowledge to be able to support each child individually to move them onto the next stage of their development and learning. Striving to help the child to be school ready for when they finish their time at Choochoos.
– Work closely with parents/carers throughout their time at Choochoos to achieve school readiness.
– Create a parents/carers display for starting school. Including school open days/activities and the government application information poster.
– Advertise all starting school information to our parent/carers, by email, verbally and in our newsletters.
– Guide and support parents/carers throughout the application process.
– Once parents/carers are told the school their child has been accepted into, we will create a list.
– Contact the schools our children have been accepted into, by email/letter. This letter will be to invite the teacher in to Choochoos to see the child in the nursery environment and meet/discuss with the child’s current key person, including the child’s development, next steps, interests, needs, progress, care plans, medical needs, etc.
– Key people will create a record of transfer for the school the child will be transitioning to, which is an overview of the child’s learning, development and interests. The child’s key person will involve parents/carers in writing this document, then it will be given to the school before they start.
– Take the children to the school events to help build the relationship with the local schools. Choochoos encourages parents/carers to take their children to school events available to them as well.
– Share with parents school tip leaflets for school readiness.
– Within the nursery environment we can develop our areas to aid the transition to school, e.g. role play schools, school photo books, visits to the school, independence activities, story times about school, etc.
– Flexible with children staggering their start to school while remaining at Choochoos.
– Gain feedback from the local schools when the previous children have settled in enabling us to see how the children are developing and settling. It also allows us to get more information about school practices and how to prepare our children in the future.
How to help your child to be school ready – ‘5 top tips’
1 – Teach children to concentrate & learn resilience.
Children have to be able to concentrate on a task and focus on something even if there are setbacks. Giving up or relying on adults to step in means that children’s progress will be slower. Being able to concentrate and not give up makes a significant difference to children’s achievement. In order to learn to read, children have to put in significant amounts of effort and cope when they are not always getting words right. Children also need to be able to concentrate without always having adults sitting prompting them. In the weeks before school, see if your child can play or manage tasks, such as tidying up and give praise afterwards for having concentrated and persevered.
2 – Encourage language development.
Being able to talk, listen and communicate is essential. It means that your child can express themselves and make friends, but it is also vital for learning, so prioritise use of language. Children who are doing well at this will learn to read and write more quickly. Your child needs to be able to respond not just to their teacher, but also to midday supervisors, teaching assistants and parent helpers. To help your child learn to talk to new people try letting them pay for things in shops or order items in restaurants, so that they can gain these skills with you there for backup. As language is linked to learning to read, prioritise meal times as chatting times and build in to your routine the sharing of books.
3 – Help children to develop social skills.
Children need friends and they can become upset if they do not make any. Popular children are thoughtful, kind and take turns. They also know that they cannot take over games or win every time. Look out for opportunities for your child to play with other children, particularly if you know anyone who has a child in the same class. Make sure that you teach your child to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as ways of recognising other people’s kindness. The best way is to model this yourself and to prompt if your child forgets. Encourage your child to share things, even if this is just with you and explain when you share, the other person feels included and so are more likely to be friendly. Also play small games with your child and see if your child can manage if they do not win.
4 – Encourage them to perform practical tasks.
Being able to put your coat on, manage your lunchbox and get dressed for PE is important in a busy classroom environment. These practical skills also give children huge amounts of confidence. Children need to be able to take themselves off to the toilet, wash their hands and get their coats on and off. At lunchtime, they need to manage their packed lunch or carry a tray. They also need to be able to blow their noses. Allow a couple of months to practise these skills and if you have over the years become your child’s personal dresser and general assistant, expect that there may be a little resistance. Time, patience and a little praise are needed, but it is worth it for your child’s sake. Competent children tend to gain in confidence and these self-help skills are great for getting children’s hands ready for writing.
5 – Make sure they get lots of sleep.
Children’s brains need sleep in order that they can process information. It also helps them to concentrate, regulate their emotions and prevent illness. Children who aren’t getting enough sleep are less likely to cope with the demands of school. It’s worth looking at your child’s sleep patterns as children do find the first weeks very tiring. Children who are not sleeping enough are more likely to pick up a cold or infection. They will also find it harder to concentrate and learn. Aim in the next couple of months to build up a good bedtime routine and just before term begins, get your child in the habit of being up and dressed early. With a bit of luck, this will help you both to glide through the school gates on their first day rather than making a hasty entrance.
For further information click on these links to access our school readiness leaflets: