Apr 16, 2020

What School-Readiness means to us

As we approach the end of the Easter holidays, we would ordinarily be starting our final big push to support the transition of our pre-schoolers to school in September. However, due to the current pandemic these plans will have to be put on hold for now, and we understand how this may cause some concern to our families who have children going to ‘big school’ this year.

Fundamentally, whilst this final term is important in supporting children with some 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 school is actually something that children, their families and nursery settings have been working on since the day they were born.

From a very early age, and with support and encouragement from their families, community and high-quality nursery environments, children begin to develop the skills, attributes and attitudes that will help them to be successful throughout their school journey. From learning to crawl, to having to run everywhere they go; from finally getting their spoon from their bowl into their mouth without dropping it into their bib; and all that rolling, pinching and squeezing of the playdough, squishy spaghetti and mud; children have been developing the fine-motor skills and strength required to hold a pencil and write as well as the spatial awareness and muscle control to be able to sit for the prolonged periods required when they go to ‘big school’. As parents and early years teachers, every story we have shared, every nursery rhyme we have sung, every loving and caring interaction we have shared, and every single conversation we have held; whether it be about bugs, monsters, colours, and even children’s love of ‘toilet talk’; has been supporting the development of communication and literacy and the skills required for learning to read, while fostering the creativity and critical thinking that will help them succeed at school and beyond.

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, and we are confident that whilst they may need some extra time to adjust to their new environments, they absolutely have the foundations to be successful learners and reach their full potential – because our young children are simply amazing!

At The Old Station Nursery Group, we believe in fostering the following skills, aptitudes and attitudes to ensure children are not only ‘school-ready’ but have a healthy and positive approach to life-long learning. These are detailed below, along with some ideas of how you can continue to support your children throughout the next few weeks at home.

Resilience

Like adults, children learn by making mistakes and we believe that 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.

Endeavour

We know that children are absolutely packed full of potential. We believe that we should always encourage and support children to reach that potential. 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!

Attitude

We believe children need to have a positive attitude to learning; to be excited, curious and engaged in learning. 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. Sharing 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, is extremely beneficial also. You can also explore the school website, which will often have pictures of the different things they do at school.

Desire

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.

Individuality

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 key for the 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.

Nurtured

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.

Excitement

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.

READINESS

Finally, you can be assured that your children already have many of the characteristics and skills needed to start ‘big’ school, thanks to their loving, nurturing family environments, and the experiences and opportunities provided at home and at nursery. The key is to 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’.

 

 

 

 


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