Tips for Transitioning into Nursery or Pre-Prep
As we approach the end of the school year, we are increasingly asked by parents about how to best prepare their children for the next educational challenges. Early Years and Nursery specialist, Sabine Hooke, shares her tops tips with us here.
As your child prepares for their transition into Nursery or Reception, they are likely to be very excitable. Do you share this excitement, or are you concerned about how to best help them with the transition? These top tips can easily become part of your daily routines, can form some of your summer excursions together and will make a huge difference.
How to prepare your two year old for Nursery
- Talk about nursery daily in the 2 months leading up to starting, take trips to the school to familiarise your child with the morning routine and route and if possible get photos of members of staff working with your children to look at regularly at home.
- If your child has an afternoon place, start to slowly shorten and bring forward the time of their afternoon nap for the 2 months before starting.
- Get children used to verbalising their needs by modelling their language- “I need to go to the loo”, “I’m thirsty”, “I can’t find my coat”.
- If your child has never been in the nursery environment before than take this opportunity to visit playgroups and music groups with some regularity so children get used to group environments.
How to prepare your four year old for Reception
- Attend all open mornings, fetes or events happening in the new school to familiarise your child with their new environment.
- Support your child with preparation for phonics by playing games that build phonemic awareness such as ‘I spy’, to encourage them to hear the initial sounds in words.
- If your child is a picky eater, opt for packed lunches rather than a cooked lunch at least for the first term. Familiarise your child with dealing with containers, drinks and thermos’s in their lunchbox by taking it on outings, picnics or family and friends houses.
- Reception classes expect children to be independent and manage their own belongings which means that it is essential that everything is clearly labelled! Get children used to the contents of their new uniform or PE kit by laying them out and practicing changing in and out of them a few times. Make it fun by using a timer and a reward for timing before the buzzer goes!
What to expect as a parent as your child enters the Foundation Stage
The Foundation stage is the first part of the National Curriculum for children aged 3-5 which covers both Nursery and Reception. During those years children will be assessed regularly in seven areas of learning, 3 ‘prime’ (Communication, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development) and a further 4 ‘specific’ (Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the Worlds and Expressive Arts and Design). There are several crucial skills children will be expected to have mastered before entering the more formal world of Key stage 1!
At this point teachers are hoping to have helped develop confident, independent and expressive 5 year olds. Children should be able to negotiate spaces effectively and move in a variety of ways including running, hopping, skipping and jumping with control. At this point children should be confidently separating from carers and able to select resources and investigate their interests independently. Crucially children should be able to take others into consideration in their behaviour, consistently taking turns and sharing as well as communicating their feelings, likes and dislikes to other adults or children.
In Mathematics children should be able to count to rote to at least 20 and count up to 10 (or preferably 20) objects accurately. They should be able to recognise and order numerals 1-10 and be working on 10-20. Children are able to calculate one more or one less than any number up to 10 and have rudimentary understanding or addition and subtraction. In addition they should be able to recognise and name all 2D and 3D shapes as well as recognising and recreating repeating patterns.
In regards to reading and writing at the end of Reception, children are expected to know the sounds of all 26 letters as well as some digraph sounds (e.g. th, sh, ng) and be using this knowledge to read and write simple CVC words and attempt more complex ones. When writing letters should be recognisable and clear and there should be clear finger spaces between words as well as the beginnings of basic punctuation. At this point children should be communicating clearly in sentences and exploring new and more complex vocabulary.