How we prepare a child for school

With better weather on the horizon, it is a tell-tale sign that we are on our way to that exciting time of year when some of our oldest friends move on to school. This exciting new chapter can bring with it some anxieties, but we are here to make the transition as smooth as possible and to support your child in every way we can.

At Orchidale, we ensure our children are as independent as possible. This involves much practising of zipping up coats, putting on shoes and lots of encouragement when changing items of clothing. Our Forest School also plays a huge part in this, as children are already used to undoing waders, unzipping raincoats and removing wellies before they start school!

At Orchidale, we model as much as we can to encourage the children to be independent — for example, using a knife and fork at lunch and tea times. We praise our children for serving themselves independently at mealtimes, scraping and washing up their own plates too!

At Orchidale, we practise a child-led approach. However, we also have a routine in place throughout the day — our children learn to listen to instructions, know how to tidy up and have small-group times with our qualified teacher. This all helps with being "school ready". At group times, the children may sit and listen or act out a story, have a group discussion or partake in educational games — ones that encourage Maths-awareness or that ask children to listen to sounds/rhyming words, for example. This is an opportunity for children also to take time to really listen to an adult and to speak in front of a group.

School-readiness does not mean that children should be writing letters or words. We encourage our children to strengthen their hand muscles first! This means lots of fine manipulative activities, such as working with disco play dough, or making marks on paper; large-scale drawing is also important — we encourage children to make huge circles with a paint brush. All these activities strengthen muscles which will be needed to write! We also encourage children to recognise their own name through self-registration.

Children who are school ready should have a natural curiosity about the world around them, and we inspire our children to be curious learners throughout our play activities. Our nursery children will therefore be excited to explore new environments, too, such as school.

It is a real celebration when teachers from our local schools come to visit us at the nursery and we inform them face to face as much as we can about each child, in addition to our written transition reports.

As a nursery, we feel so proud to see our children go off to school and always ask our parents to keep us posted on how they are getting on. Moving on to school is another step in a child’s journey which we are thrilled to play a part in. Every child is an individual and will always go at their own pace, but for us and for each child, every little achievement means so much!

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