Getting your pre-schooler ‘Reception ready’

Getting your pre-schooler ‘Reception ready’. The months before moving from nursery to Reception can be a nerve racking time for both you and your child. All children are unique and start school with different interests and a wide range of abilities and parents can often feel under pressure to have their child already familiar with letters and numbers or even reading before setting foot into their Reception classroom. Whereas in our experience what is important is that they have:

  • Strong social skills
  • Can cope emotionally with being separated from their parents
  • Are relatively independent in their own personal care
  • Have curiosity about the world and a desire to learn

How can you help your child develop strong social skills?

Children learn from watching and listening to you and the other adults who are important to them. So don’t just talk about the importance of good manners – demonstrate them every day in your own actions, for example by always saying please and thank you.

Play with their toys and games with them. Help them to learn that sometimes they will win but that they will also lose so they can learn to manage those feelings.

Encourage your child to ask before touching or taking something that isn’t theirs.

Have as many family meals together as you can, don’t be afraid to also eat out to get your child used to eating in different environments, showing off their knife and fork skills and interacting socially too. Use mealtimes as opportunities to ask you child what they have enjoyed doing that day.

If someone asks your child a question given them time to answer, encourage them but try not to answer for them.

Next steps to more independence

Get dressed for success! One of the most useful things you can do with your child before they start school is help them learn how to get dressed and changed into new clothes. Buying their new school uniform (if they have one) will be very exciting and is a great opportunity to get to grips with any buttons, shoe laces and zips they will need to master to get changed into PE or swimming kit and back into their uniform again. As it will be getting colder soon after they start school make sure they can get their coats on and off and by hanging their own coat up at home they get into good habits for school.

Carrying their own bag when you go out – encourage them to carry their bag to nursery or pre-school and home again. Ask them if they have all their belongings before you leave nursery to start to get them to take ownership and have an awareness of what they need each day.

It can be hard in the summer to maintain a regular and timely bedtime routine but doing so will help your child cope with both the physical and mental exhaustion starting Reception inevitably brings. Even if they are used to long days at nursery the exposure to new people, things, places and immersion in new styles of learning will make them very tired.

Fun learning games to enjoy

Any of these games or activities in short bursts will aid your child’s (and your own) concentration and development:

  • Puzzles or matching memory games
  • Spot the difference
  • Where’s Wally?
  • ‘I went to the supermarket and I bought…’ shopping list memory game
  • Colouring

Maths is all around us!

Use your home and garden and local community to help develop your child’s maths skills. Use any opportunity to count things – cars going past your house (good for colour recognition too), stairs you go up or down, sweets, raisins, cherry tomatoes or anything you eat in multiples.

Ask your child to sort their toys, clothes, books by colour or sizes. Look and describe the size of things by encouraging them to say words like longer, shorter, taller.

Think about the position of things – above or below, in front or behind, next to or between.

Enlist your child as a dinner time helper by helping you to lay the table counting out the cutlery as you go. While cooking let your child help you with counting or measuring ingredients.

Encourage a love of reading

If a child loves reading it has so many benefits for the rest of their education. Start with looking at picture books together, talk about what is happening in the pictures and ask what might happen next. Watch CBeebies bedtime stories together.

Sing nursery rhymes together – then when your child is familiar with them start leaving words out for them to say on their own.

Written and fine motor skills

The most important thing is to encourage your child to use crayons, pens and pencils to draw, colour, trace or make patterns in sand or rice. If they want to see if they can trace their name. Look at different types of writing – lists, song lyrics, letters.

Developing fine and gross motor skills is very important at this age. Threading beads or pasta on string, making piles of coins or lego or other building toys are excellent activities for developing these skills.

Start a conversation

Each day, try to set aside some time to sit and talk with your child without any distractions. This could be a role play game to help them practise expressing who they are. Talking about their name, age, your family, what they like and dislike will help them make those initial conversations when they start school.

When you are out and about, make observations and show curiosity about the things that you see along the way. Encourage your child to predict and ask questions – ‘I wonder where that big red bus is going?’

Settling any nerves

The more relaxed you are about your child starting school, they will be too. Talk about what they are looking forward to, what did they enjoy at any pre-visits they went to? Look at the school’s website together to see pictures and videos of what the children get up to. Dig out photos from your own school days and talk about your happy memories.

Perfecting the school run

Unlike many nurseries, schools have a set drop off period in the morning when all children are expected to arrive. This could be as short as ten minutes after which registration takes place so it might be worth having a few practice journeys. If you are walking, allow time for stopping and looking at things on the way, if you are driving make sure you know where you can, and cannot park. Allow extra time for heavier traffic in September than in the summer holidays – both at the start and the end of the day.

Enjoy the summer

More than anything, use these last few months before formal schooling begins to have fun together. It is a special time in you and your child’s life with an exciting change about to take place so enjoy the build up and take advantage of the freedoms before the school routine kicks in. Finally, on the first day make sure you capture that moment on the doorstep with a photo of your child, before you head off to school.

The Mall School is working alongside Toddleworld Nursery Management to transform the school’s site at 84 Hampton Road into a vibrant, exciting and inspiring environment for young children within a high-quality and purpose built setting which includes a large outdoor space for the children to play and learn in. The new day nursery in Twickenham will also use the school’s extensive facilities including a weekly swim in the indoor heated swimming pool and performances in the 160 seat theatre.

The Nursery at The Mall will be open 51 weeks of the year, taking boys and girls from 6 months to school age. Our approach is all about learning through play, following your child’s interests and using natural, authentic resources. Our core opening hours are 7:30am – 6:30pm. We offer an early start from 7:00am and extended pick-up time of 7:00pm by request to meet the needs of busy working parents.

Situated close to several train stations, the nursery is ideal for commuting parents as well as those who will be staying locally. Our buggy park offers a convenient storage option for families who will be walking to the nursery.

Boys at the nursery will automatically be offered a place in The Mall School’s Reception class, however the nursery is a standalone provision, offering an excellent nursery education for all local families with no expectation of children continuing into the school. All children in the pre-school year of the nursery will benefit from an excellent transition programme to get them ready and excited for their next school.

Work on the redevelopment of the site will begin soon and the nursery is already taking details from families interested in admission. Welcome events, tours and visits are being held and will increase in frequency in the run up to the opening of the nursery.

Register your interest for the Nursery here

Getting your pre-schooler 'Reception ready'