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Preparation For School

Any other year would have seen us at Apple Trees Child Care just enter the summer term. A term that is usually full of wonderful, vibrant activities, garden time and the last phase of preparation for nursery school and reception for our Ladybird (preschool) room. However, this year is somewhat different. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic most children are at home with their parents on lock down. We very much hope that this will not last too much longer but if it does our little people that are due to start school in September are going to miss the most important term in their preschool year.

Don’t Worry!

If you are a parent of a preschooler that will be starting nursery school or reception in September you may be anxious that they are not going to be ready and the transition from one setting to another is going to be unsettling, traumatising and quite frankly terrifying! But you don’t need to worry. Schools, nurseries and preschools work together all the time and are in regular contact. We share information to make the process as easy as possible and schools make sure they have systems in place to help your little ones settle. We promise it will all be ok! In the mean time we want to give you some ideas to help your child prepare at home!

Being Independant

  • ‘I am happy to be away from you as I know you are coming back.’
  • ‘Give me opportunities to meet other children and adults and to spend time away from you.’
  • ‘Help me develop and practice dressing, eating and going to the toilet so that I can care for myself.’

This is quite tricky during lockdown but you could set an activity and say I am just going to do something and I will be back soon. Even if only to the other room for a few minutes where you can see them but they can’t see you, ensuring safety at all times. You could try FaceTime or zoom calling with little friends, having a chat with other mums has to be a perk of that one! If you child can’t do everything thats ok as there will be help at hand but use this time to let them try and improve on their own skills such as eating and going to the toilet.

Feeling Good

  • ‘I can talk to you about how I feel and any worries I may have.’
  • ‘I know how to keep myself safe and understand there are rules about what I can do.’
  • ‘Make sure I have a healthy diet, lots of opportunities to play outside and be active, and time to sleep at night.’

Encouraging your child to talk about their feelings will help them at school as they will feel comfortable talking to their teacher. When your child starts school they will be able to embark on numerous challenges and there will also be lots of rules. It will benefit your child if there are also rules at home so they can get used to this way of doing things. A good nights sleep sets a child up for the day. With routines out of the window during lockdown its easy to relax bedtimes and meal times but try and stick to a routine so that when lockdown is over its not so much of a transition going back to ‘normal’ life.

Loving Learning

  • ‘I want to find out about things that interest me.’
  • ‘I love opportunities to be creative and I love talking about what we are doing and have done!’
  • ‘Read books to me, point to pictures and name them clearly. Talk about what we can both see using simple phrases. Tell me stories too.’
  • ‘Talk about what you are doing using a simple commentary; count out the number of grapes at snack time and say what we can see all the time so I can learn different vocabulary.’

Children learn through everything they do so it is not essential for you to do 10 different activities a day covering all areas of development. However, if you have time and you want to help your child prepare a little more carrying out some of the activities above daily will really push them along. Activities can teach much more than the obvious counting and colours etc. It can teach about listening, concentrating, speaking, imagination, curiosity etc. Help your child be ready to learn! If you would like some activity ideas have a scroll through our facebook page or visit our blog as we are adding ideas daily!

Making My Voice Heard

  • ‘I can listen to others; help me practice taking turns so I understand sharing.’
  • ‘I can ask for help. If I ask lots of questions be patient.’
  • ‘Talk to me using words I can understand, and add words to help extend my vocabulary. This will help me to express what I want, so that others can understand me.’
  • ‘Let me sing songs and rhymes.’
  • ‘Provide me with opportunities to meet other children and adults so that I can practice these skills.’

All of the things you have been doing so far have helped your child to make their voice heard. Having their own ideas and being able to voice them is a key factor in learning and development. Having their own voice also helps them to build relationships with their carers and make friends. Its a great way of preparing them for school.

Doing My Best

  • ‘I am asking questions about my new school.’
  • ‘Help me be the best I can be and have high hopes for me.’
  • ‘Let me have plenty of opportunities to practice new skills, to make mistakes and try again.’
  • ‘Talk to me about my new school.’

Talking to your child about their new school is one of the most important things you can do to help your child prepare for school. Talk about how wonderful the new school is and how they have lots of great things to do there. Talk about their new teacher and how lovely he or she is. Often mention their new teacher in passing. Such as I bet Miss Smith likes grapes etc. During lockdown you will not be able to visit the school but maybe you can wander past on your daily walk and point it out so your child becomes familiar with it. If its not on your route print a picture of the school out from the internet. Another good idea is to talk about the special, smart uniform they will have and if you have it already try it on. Its really important to sound super positive and excited when you talk about the school so that your child too shares the excitement and associates the school as a lovely place they want to be at.

We do all of the above at Apple Trees to ready the children for school and we hope this blog will give you some ideas to do at home. A book thoroughly enjoyed by our children at this time of year is ‘Topsy and Tim Start School‘, its well worth a purchase!

Finally just remember to have fun and don’t stress about things. Children are very resilient and you will be surprised how quickly they will settle back into a new routine, so don’t worry. We have given the children a great couple of terms of preparation already and they have all the tools already in there, building on them is helpful but not essential!

Take care and stay safe!