Starting at Ferrars
Starting school is a big change to a child’s life. We want them to feel happy and confident when they join us in Reception. In order to feel happy at school children need to know they can do things for themselves. They have to get used to being one of many and staff are not always able to be with your child all the time. It’s much easier to settle a child into school if they have already learnt certain key skills. Our parent-friendly guide will help you understand what skills your child needs, and how to support your child develop these skills.
At The Ferrars Academy our expectations are that your child should have the following skills when starting Reception:
- Able to go to the toilet on their own, wiping themselves and handwashing
- Able to use a tissue to blow their nose
- Able to get undressed, and dressed independently, including putting on and fastening their coat and shoes
- Recognise and write their first name
- Stop, look and listen when an adult says their name
- Able to talk in simple sentences of his/her own interest
- Follow a set of instructions
- Able to tell an adult if they need any kind of help
- Sit quietly and concentrate on a task
- Able to listen to a story for around ten minutes
- Be familiar with books and recall favourite stories
- Able to count and identify numbers
- Able to use a pencil and scissors correctly
Able to use cutlery and have good table manners
What does a ‘School Ready’ child look like?
A School ready child should...
1. Have strong social skills – maintain eye contact, turn take, talk about their interests
2. Be able to cope emotionally when separated from parents/carer
3. Be relatively independent in their own personal care
4. Have a curiosity about the world around them and a desire to learn
5. Be confident and have a willingness to try new things
Help your child get ‘School Ready’
If your child has not attended Nursery or preschool then start attending our Bright Beginnings Stay & Play sessions to give them some experience before they start school. Give your child the opportunity to play with other children so that they can learn to share and take turns, develop their social skills, make some friends and follow a simple routine.
Look at the Academy’s prospectus or website together and talk about the pictures. Help your child develop independence and a ‘believe you can’ attitude by giving them a few everyday responsibilities for example they could lay the table, feed a pet or put their own laundry away.
If you are struggling with any areas of parenting and you would like some support, then why not come to one of our Positive Parenting workshops or the Family Worker drop in. For further information and dates contact the Family Worker on 01582 573641
Talk with your child. Turn off the television, ipads/tablets, mobile phones and give your child your full attention. Encourage conversation and develop your child’s language skills. Talk about what you can see and hear when you walk down the street. This will help them with their communication and understand new words.
It is vital that we can understand your child’s needs. Please teach them to use words rather than pointing when they need something.
This could relate to:
• asking for a drink
• going to the toilet
• needing help with coats or shoes
• wanting to do an activity etc
When your child points at something they want at home, say the words to them and encourage them to say them back to you. Practise this often and they will soon be using words rather than pointing.
Encourage your child to ask for things as this will show you that your child has the ability to ask for the toilet or something they might need from a teacher when they are at school.
Read with your child. The single most helpful thing you can do to help secure your child’s educational chances is to read to them every day. Use picture books at home to practise storytelling. Lots of reading together at home helps children achieve well in literacy in school.
Play some fun listening and doing games to help with following instructions. ‘Simon says’ or ‘Can you find?’ games are great for this.
Sing simple songs and rhymes with your child. This will help them develop speech, learn sounds and meaning to words and recall language developing memory and listening skills.
Provide daily physical activity and give your child experiences of real life. Take them to the beach, park, forest, let them splash in puddles, climb trees, play in the snow, rain and mud so that they can have real life experiences to talk about. Talk about what you see and hear as you walk down the street. Physical activity will help strengthen their muscles and bones so allow them to ride bikes and use play equipment.
Establishing New Routines
Make sure your child sleeps well during the week and has a structured bedtime routine so that they are ready to join in at nursery. Bath time and stories instead of TV and tablet games all help children to wind down before bedtime. Phase out any naps and introduce a longer day before the school term starts as this should help with the transition. The Family Worker is happy to help with sleep routines and holds regular parenting workshops, so please ask if you would like support.
Practising the school morning routine, including getting dressed and giving your child enough time to eat breakfast before you need to leave home. Practise the school run so that you’re both prepared for the journey. Nutritious meals and plenty of sleep will help your child to concentrate, learn and thrive at school. Establish a good routine weeks leading up to your child starting school.
If you have arranged childcare before or after school, talk this through with your child. If the childcare arrangement is new, try a settling-in period with the childminder before the school term starts.
Guide to support your child develop self-care and independence
Get your child to master these self-care skills before they start school and make life for them a little easier! Let your child do things for themselves even if it takes a little bit longer!
Do not use a bottle, spouted cup or dummy if your child still uses one.
If your child has a favourite security toy, blanket or comforter, get them used to being without it during the day.
Do not use a pushchair or carry your child to school. Allow your child to walk, always holding your hand to keep them safe. This will strengthen their muscles and develop their gross motor skills. Your child will need to be used to walking to go on visits and adventures! Allow your child to have opportunities to be looked after by someone else. This will help them learn to separate from you, even if it is only for an hour. They will learn that when you go, you will always return. It will make it easier for them when they start school.
Encourage them to explore new environments and interact with new people.
Show your child how to hold and look at a book properly. Use this opportunity to talk to your child about nursery and what they are looking forward to the most.
Teach your child to recognise their name.
Going to the toilet / Hand washing
Support your child in getting to the toilet on time, allow them to wipe themselves using toilet paper rather than toilet wipes. Get them to flush the toilet after use. Visit lots of different toilets and talk about the different way they flush. Practise turning taps on and off and drying hands with paper towels. Let the boys have a go at using a urinal!
If you have a different phrase for going to the toilet introduce your child to the following phrase: “Go to the toilet”. It will make settling in at school easier.
Talk to your child about the importance of washing their hands with soap and water, especially after going to the toilet and before eating.
Dressing & Undressing
Allow your child to practise putting on and taking off their own coat and clothes including socks and tights. Practise putting their uniform on and off at home. Show your child how to put their shoes on the right feet and managing the fastenings. Teach them what goes on first when they get dressed. This will help them when they have to do it by themselves in preparation for P.E lessons.
Teach them the tricks like showing them the label goes at the back and the logo for jumpers at the front, holding cuffs to stop sleeves riding up, and wrinkling tights to put toes in first. Avoid fiddly fastenings and opt for elasticated waists and velcro fastenings for young children. Teach your child to recognise their own coat by putting a small key ring on the end of the zip to help them, as children often have the same colour or type of coat.
Drinking from a cup and straw / eating independently
Your child will be drinking water or milk from a cup at snack time or will drink a carton using a straw during their lunch. Please help them to practise this at home. They will also have fruit at snack time so let them eat independently with supervision.
Children will need to be able to use a knife, fork and spoon and carry a plate of food if they are having a school dinner.
Children who are having a packed lunch will need to be able to recognise their own lunch box/bag. They need to be able to open their own lunch boxes as well as any containers and packets and manage wrappers. Encourage your child to have good manners.
Using a tissue
Introduce your child to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’. Catch the sneeze or runny nose in a tissue and get your child to put it in the bin straight away themselves, then go and wash their hands to kill the germs.
Get your child into good habits by teaching them to hang their coat up, putting their toys away, helping you to clear the table etc. This will prepare them for doing these things naturally in school.
With a little preparation & encouragement most children will settle into school life with ease.
If you have any worries about your child starting school, please let us know.
We hope this booklet has answered many of your questions about your child starting school. We would be pleased to hear feedback about the pack and suggestions for inclusion in the future. For further information, please refer to the handouts or school prospectus in this pack or which are available from the school office or speak to any member of staff.