We appreciate starting school can be an anxious time for both children and their families. This will be heightened with the current situation we find ourselves in where some children will currently not be attending their usual nursery setting. I would like to offer my assurance that as a school we will do all we can to ensure your child’s transition into school is an enjoyable one. Parents may be concerned that their child has missed out on months of learning. Please do not worry! With any year group starting school we have a wide range of abilities, as all children progress at their own rate. To best support your child in getting ready for September I have listed below a range of activities that would benefit them to be able to do when they start school.
Can your child sit still and listen?
Play listening games:
Put different objects, such as keys, paper, beans in a bottle, etc., into a covered box, and then manipulate one of the objects asking a child to tell you what he/she heard. You might need to introduce the child to different objects and sounds before playing this game.
Ask a child to imitate the act of clapping. Clap your hands with different intensity, speed, and rhythm.
Ask the child to finish your sentences. You can use popular children’s songs, poems, or everyday phrases, e.g., “Twinkle, twinkle little…”
Have your child run/walk or use toy cars to play this game. When the child hears red, he/she needs to stop the activity and start over when he/she hears green.
Read short stories and ask the child questions or have him/her retell the story.
On your daily exercise, listen for animals, vehicles or any other sounds, encourage your child to name the sounds that they can hear.
Is your child toilet trained?
Encourage your child can go to the toilet by themselves and undo their trousers or manage skirt, pinafore or tights and wipe their bottom and wash their hands independently.
Can your child ask an adult if they need help?
Encourage your child to ask you and others for help when needed.
Assure them that the teacher, teaching assistants and lunch time staff are there to help them.
Does your child recognise their own name?
Make games using the letters of your child’s name, can they order the letters?
Let them help make labels for their book bag.
Create a name plate for their bedroom door or above their bed.
Make the letters from their name out of play dough.
Can your child take off and put on their own shoes and coat?
Start encouraging independence by letting your child do some things for themselves like putting their shoes on before going outside, taking off their shoes when they come inside, putting on and taking their coat off by themselves, encourage them and demonstrate to them to do the fastenings on their coat (buttons/zip).
Choose shoes with no laces.
Can your child dress and undress themselves?
Let your child undress themselves for bed, allow more time for your child to dress themselves in the morning and help them with the order of the clothing.
Encourage your child to undress themselves for bath/shower and putting their clothes in a pile.
Let them practice wearing their school uniform and PE kit and taking it off and putting it back on again.
Can your child talk in sentences?
Talk to them about everyday activities like hanging out washing, preparing meals.
Read stories and talk about the characters and the events, ask them to retell the story to you or others.
Sing rhymes and songs, let your child hear the rhythm and sounds as you sing.
Teach them new words, explaining what they mean and use them in simple sentences for children to hear.
Encourage your child to give you directions on your daily exercise walk.
Talk to them about their interests and encourage conversation.
Can your child listen to a story?
Get into a good bedtime routine with a story every evening.
Read stories with your child or get an older child to read with them.
There are lots of stories on YouTube, however it is much nicer to cuddle up with someone on the sofa and listen to a story.
There are some good books about starting school e.g. Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean Adamson, Starting School by Allen and Janet Ahlberg or Harry and the Dinosaurs Go to School by Ian Whybrow.
Can your child use a knife and fork?
Start by encouraging your child to use their cutlery correctly and to eat independently. It would be helpful if they could carry their plate to kitchen when they have finished.
Make some play dough sausages and practice cutting them with a knife and fork.
Do lots of activities that help to build up the muscles in their hands and arms to be able to hold a pencil and write, use play dough to squeeze, stretch and roll.
Some yoga poses can help with building hand and arm muscles (https://childreninspiredbyyoga.com/rochester/)
Get your child to use an easel, this helps build all the muscles in the hands, arms and shoulders.
Practice counting songs (1 2 3 4 5 once I caught a fish alive, 10 in the bed and the little one said, 5 currant buns, 5 little ducks went swimming one day, 5 little men in a flying saucer), have a look on YouTube for some inspiration.
Look for numbers on your daily exercise walk, door numbers, car number plates and bus numbers.
Having 30 children in a classroom will mean that they are going to learn to share and to take turns with other children.
Play lots of games together as a family, encourage them to wait for their turn.