This time next week, many of our families will be finding out which school their child has been offered a place at. This is an exciting time for both parents and children; a new learning adventure for your child in September, complete with new challenges and opportunities to experience.
But, of course, we also understand that this is equally a nervous time for parents and children alike; will my child be ok at school? Are they prepared for the challenges that lie ahead? How will they cope with the transition from nursery to school?
Fundamentally, whilst the summer term is our final big push in supporting children with some important practical aspects of the transition to school; for example, being able to put on their own coat and zip it up, being able to wait in a line, sit still for a story, and able to open their lunch box (and any fiddly Tupperware boxes inside); readiness for this next stage of learning at school is something that we have been developing since the day your child started nursery.
At The Old Station Nursery Group, we believe in fostering a number of skills, aptitudes and attitudes that ensure children are not only ‘school-ready’ but are ready for every stage of learning; whether that be the transition from room to room within the nursery, from nursery to school or even from primary school to secondary school; we start developing these skills from the day we meet your child with the aim of promoting a healthy and positive approach to life-long learning.
These skills, attitudes and aptitudes are detailed below, along with some ideas of how you can continue to support your children throughout the next few months at home.
Like adults, children learn by making mistakes and we believe that it is not the mistake that matters, it is our fearless and determined approach to keep trying that counts. Confidence is key here – we need children to know it is ok to make a mistake, learn from it, and then with support and encouragement, try again and again. So, when children inevitably get frustrated at their tenth attempt at building a bridge for their train track, which keeps collapsing, we want them to be confident enough to keep going and find the solution. Problem solving is a key skill for school and for life.
We know that children are absolutely packed full of potential. We believe that we should always encourage and support children to achieve their very best. It could simply be encouraging a few more details to the beautiful painting they have created or sitting for a few extra minutes to complete the puzzle they started. We want children to enjoy knowing the feeling of seeing something through to its conclusion – the feeling of success!
We believe children need to have a positive attitude to learning; to be excited, curious and engaged in learning. Engaging in lots of discussions about the exciting experiences they will have at ‘big school’ will all feed into a positive attitude to school and learning; focusing on the new friends they will make, the new toys that they will have the opportunity to play with, and the new and exciting things they will learn each day which they can come home and tell their families about. It would also be extremely beneficial to share your own positive memories from school, for example, your favourite school dinner, or the lovely teacher you had and the things that they taught you. Try also exploring the school website, which will often have pictures of the different things they do at school.
This is about the ‘wants and wishes’ of our young children. Children should have the confidence to express what they want from their learning. We think it is really important to encourage children to be leaders in their learning and we know that children will learn when they are curious, interested and engaged in the subject. We believe that children should continue to develop ideas and explore concepts through play and experiences that interest and excite them. That may mean that our most creative children may spend the summer painting endless masterpieces for your fridge, or that you end up making cupcakes for the millionth time, however, these are all such valuable experiences and learning opportunities which centre around your child’s passions and interests.
We know that every child is unique and that this should be celebrated. It is important that, not only do young children feel celebrated for simply being themselves and for all the wonderful things that they are, but that they are also able to celebrate the uniqueness of others. We support and nurture this through our positive relationships and attitudes with others. We encourage the exploration of our differences and our similarities and celebrate everything that makes us unique. There are many wonderful books and games that can help support this too but the key for a smooth transition to school is continuing to celebrate everything that makes your child unique, for example, the skill of being able to speak different languages, their special families, and diverse cultural backgrounds.
We know you have this one ‘hands down’ – children need to feel loved and protected. Children who are emotionally secure and nurtured will thrive at school.
Children need to be excited, willing and eager to learn. At nursery, we plan our learning and teaching around children’s interests and passions, and there is no better way to get a child excited and engaged in learning than by doing something that truly interests them. Support their learning at home by using their favourite toys, through their favourite activities, by asking questions and adding resources; for example, real cooking utensils in their playhouse, or a camera to take pictures of the bugs they are hunting in the garden, or a car magazine to compare to their toy cars. By doing this you will be providing new and exciting experiences linked to learning. Children love to have fun and if learning is made fun, children will learn!
Self-Esteem and Specialness
We tell our children all the time how special they are, how much we love them and celebrate everything that they are good at. To be successful learners, children need to know how great they are and that they have a worthwhile contribution to make. Just keep this up and our children will make the transition to school with confidence and enthusiasm.
However, we can’t take ALL of the credit for developing these skills, attitudes and aptitudes. These are things that you and your family have been helping your child develop since the day they were born – without even realising it!
From learning to crawl, to having to run everywhere they go; from every story you have shared to every nursery rhyme you have sung; from every loving and caring interaction you have shared and every single conversation you have held; you have been nurturing your child to become the special little individual that they are, eager to learn and face challenges with confidence!
So, whilst we know that the transition to ‘big school’ can be an anxious (and exciting) time, we believe that children, with the support of their families and nursery, have been busy getting ready for ‘school’ for some time now. We are confident that whilst they may need some extra time to adjust to their new environments, they absolutely have the foundations and characteristics to be successful learners and reach their full potential.
Just keep doing what you are doing, continue to encourage your children to play and laugh, practise a few of the practical requirements; such as, toileting, putting shoes, plimsolls and coats on, and listening to instructions etc; enjoy lots of books and songs, and some family time with rich conversations and fun.
Apart from that, we believe that your wonderful children have ‘got this’.
If you’d like to print our READINESS poster to have up at home, click here to download it.