Transition into Primary school
We work to support your child/ren in their transition from Otley Street and into their new primary schools. We realise that this can be a very stressful time for both parents and children, particularly if this is a new experience for parents too! Below are some of the things that we do to help:
- We arrange for Reception teachers (and sometimes support staff too) to come into a nursery session to meet their new pupils on familiar territory and also to talk to staff about them and look at their Learning Journey books.
- We pass on copies of all our assessments of your child’s progress as well as copies of their Learning stories but the precious Learning Journey book is for you to keep!
- During the last half-term we begin sharing some stories about going to school and some schools have given us simple photo stories about a day in the reception class.
- During the last week of term we have “good-bye circle times” during the session when each child is given a badge with the name of their new school on it and they stand up together whilst we sing them a special good-bye song. We take a photo of them with their fellow reception class and this goes into their Learning Journey books. Parent’s tell us that this is a very helpful way of supporting children in understanding where they are going to and who with! The photo also provides a talking point throughout that long summer break!
- Some other ways that you can prepare your child for this change are:
Develop their basic independence skills.
Can they :-
- put on, take off and fasten their coats, gloves etc?
- get dressed and undressed for PE?
- manage their toilet needs?
- handle cutlery/open their lunch containers and packets?
All these skills will build their confidence in themselves and help them cope during their first weeks in school. It is certainly worth considering the fastening on coats, shoes; boots etc. Make them as simple for your child as possible. Your child’s teachers will be very grateful too as they settle-in up to 30 four year olds!
Find out as much as you can beforehand about the school that you have chosen and how they would like you to prepare your child for admission.
All schools will have some form of prospectus information and a website – use them In addition they will offer a New Parents Evening where you will have the opportunity to meet with the staff and discuss the settling-in process, find out about the school uniform etc. Do try to attend.
They will also offer a series of visit sessions in the summer term before your child starts formally attending – usually in June/July. This gives your child an opportunity to get to know staff and become familiar with the spaces and routines. Many schools will also offer a slightly staggered start pattern in September so that children can get used to school within a smaller group, possibly attending only half-days for the first week to accommodate this.
Just because your child has been to nursery/playgroup before does not mean that they will necessarily find it easy to start somewhere else.
Think about any occasion where you as an adult have started a new job or joined a new social group – it is no easier for a child, in fact they may not actually understand what is meant by “going to big school”!
You can help by:-
- Not talking too much about it too soon and asking family/friends not to mention it every time they see them from April to September! If people kept telling you that you were going somewhere and you weren’t really sure what that somewhere meant or when it was going to happen you would feel very unsettled! In nursery we often find that some children become anxious during the last term and that some parents report that they are not sleeping well or have started wetting the bed again. Sharing stories about children starting school can be a useful way of ‘preparing the ground’ too!
- Initially your child may find attending full-time all week very tiring plus they will be conforming to lots of new rules and routines. This can make them very grumpy for you when you collect them! Fortunately this should soon wear off!
- If you have any problems e.g. if your child is unhappy when you leave or seems reluctant to go please talk to the teachers so that you can work together to support them. But try not to worry too much – each child is different and it will soon pass.
With thought and sensitive preparation this should be the start of a positive 7 year relationship between home and school. You are the most significant people in your child’s life and you know them best. If you can work together closely with your child’s teachers you can achieve the best outcomes for your child, so get involved. Ask how you can support their learning in school at home. Find out if there’s a PTA or Friends of the school and join it if you have time. Good luck!