What is School Readiness?
This is a question that crops up from time to time or we’ll get asked things like “what do I need to do to get my child ready for school?”, ‘do they need to be able to write their name, read, tie their laces or know their ABCs?
The good news is, your child doesn’t need to be able to do any of the above things to be ready for reception class. Being ready for school is so much more than the above. It’s about every day skills that will ensure your child settles well, can cope in the school environment and feels happy to go each day.
We first wrote this blog a couple of years and while things are very different this year, a lot of this still applies. We’ve added to it and some of the things in it will not be applicable at the moment but the experiences the children have already had will help them settle quicker.
At this time of year we collect the names of the schools our Pre School children will be joining in September and talk to their new schools about them. This all helps the schools get ready to welcome the children and help them settle. This is all still happening and our Early Years practitioners are busy preparing the transitions for these children.
And while as usual this term we play a part in getting children ready to start school, this is something that the children, their families and childcare settings have been preparing the children for since the day they were born.
This time of year comes around really quickly in nursery and it’s a time that is really exciting but sometimes a bit scary for our little people and their families that are moving on to ‘Big School’ in September!
It never seems 5 minutes since the children started with us as babies and then all of a sudden they are ready to leave us for their next exciting adventure. We’ve watch the children grow into curious little learners and although we are excited for their transition to reception class, it is also with a little bit of sadness as we say goodbye. But we can be happy that we have done our best to ensure they are all ready for school.
You may have already heard of the term ‘school readiness’, but what exactly is it and how can you make sure that you and you child are ready?
Parents and carers are the child’s greatest teachers and role models and school readiness can mean different things to different people.
Our amazing practitioners have many years of experience of working with children and supporting them to develop to their full potential. Children learn best when they play, by being creative, active, asking questions, being listened to, being curious and having fun.
All children develop at their own rate and all children are different.
The following are just a few areas to consider when preparing your child for ‘Big School’ and some ideas of how you can support your child.
I will be ready for school when…
I feel secure and can separate from my parent/carer
I can say goodbye to you when I am with another grown up that I know can help me
I can express myself if I need something
I can communicate my own ideas, needs and feeling
I can ask questions, make comments and answer questions
I can talk about things that interest me, what I’ve done, who I’m with or where I’m going
I can use objects and gestures when talking and explaining
I am interested in the world and the people around me
I can follow developmentally appropriate instructions
I can join in with songs, rhymes and stories
I can follow instructions such as put my coat on. I can put on and fasten my coat, maybe sometimes needing a bit of help which I can ask for.
I can share and play and I am beginning to take responsibility for my actions
I can give my friends a hug when they are upset
I am starting to understand how to let my friends know if I am unhappy or cross and how they can help me
I am curious about the world and enjoying looking at books and exploring new opportunities and activities
I can recognise my own name and words that are special to me like Mummy, Daddy and favourite shops and foods
I can turn pages in books and know how to look after them
I can hold a pencil or crayon and make marks by moving it around and up and down
I understand boundaries and rules that will keep me safe
I can tell you when I need the toilet and am able to remember to go most of the time. I can do this independently and am able to wipe my own bottom
I can climb the stairs, slide and climbing frame safely and know when to ask for help to go higher or to get down
I can tell you when I am hungry, thirsty or tired
I can wash and dry my hands
I can put on and fasten my coat, maybe sometimes needing a bit of help which I can ask for
I can hold a knife and fork and am learning to use these to feed myself but I will still need help in cutting up my food
I can go to a grown up if I am sad, worried or scared
I can follow simple routines
I can use scissors safely
I can recognise my own things
How you can help me…
Give me lots of opportunities to visit other groups and meet other children at places like toddler groups.
Give me opportunities to be left with other adults. Some may be family members, adults at nursery or pre school or at clubs such as dance and gymnastics.
Give me the opportunity to talk to other adults when you are there with me
Give me time to join in when sharing books and talking with me
Talk to me about what we are doing and the things I see and hear when we are out and about
Give me the opportunity to make my own choices about what I would like to do
Give me lots of experience of sharing books, stories and rhymes
Give me time to listen to you and respond to your questions
Give me time to talk to my friends
Help me to understand that sometimes I need to share the toys I am playing with
Talk to me about new things when I notice them
Listen to me when I talk about what I have done today or about the drawing I have done
Help me to count the things I see daily like the buses, the yellow flowers or the lampposts we walk past
Give me the opportunity to climb, not just on the climbing frame in the park but onto the arm of the sofa, onto the wall we always walk past and to jump off these safely, sometimes needing your help
Help me learn and follow the boundaries so I know what I can do
Give me the opportunity and the time to practice my independence like washing my hands and putting on my coat
Give me lots of opportunities to try new activities, play with new objects, try new foods and choose what I would like to do.
Children don’t need to be able to count to 100, write a story or read a book in order to be ready for school. They need to be happy, confident, inquisitive and independent little people who are enthusiastic and have lots of opportunities to try new things and to practice them. They need to be given opportunities to play with other children and mix with other adults to help develop their imagination and curiosity.
Remember all children develop at their own rate but with support and encouragement they will get there. Don’t rush your child to do something. They have a natural urge to be independent and with our help they will develop these skills in their own time.
For some children, some things may not be developmentally appropriate and they may need longer to gain these skills or may need additional support. By working together with your child’s key person and the school, the transition to ‘Big School’ shouldn’t be a difficult experience.
Your child will already have many of the skills and characteristics that are needed for them to start and settle into ‘Big School’. This is thanks to the loving, nuturing, caring families, enabling nursery environments and the exciting opportunities and experiences the children have been given at home and at nursery.
Just keep doing the great things you are already doing . Continue to let your child explore, play and have fun. Encourage their independence and enjoy this family time together.
We would still like to know which school your child will be going to and we will still be speaking to your child’s new school and their teacher.
We will miss them all and just know they will be fabulous.