What to expect in Reception Year
Learning through play!
In Reception, your child will follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. This sets the standards for the learning, development, and care of your child. The things your child will learn in Reception have been organised into three prime areas of learning:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal and Social Development
And four specific areas of learning:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Your child’s school will have lots of information, so it’s a great idea to make sure you contact them or accept an invitation to visit the school, if one arises.
As your child approaches school age there are many things you can do to prepare for the changes ahead. Helping children to feel confident and positive about ‘big school’ will give them a good start. They will be in a new place, with new children, new rules and routines. Many children find this very exciting whilst others will be a little daunted. Below we answer the question many parents have as they start their child’s transition to Reception:
How can I prepare my child for school?
Build your child’s confidence
- Talk with your child about what they think school will be like and share books with positive stories about starting school. Your local library can advise you on which books to choose and you can borrow them for free.
- Take your child along when buying their uniform, lunch box/school bag and choose items they can open and close themselves.
- Let your child practise putting on their new school uniform and taking it off.
- Get your child used to the bedtime and morning routines they will have when they start school. Getting enough sleep is very important.
- Practise the route to school together and work out how long it will take to get there. Point out the playground, their classroom if possible, and the pick-up and drop-off points.
- Get your child ready for their new routine by switching their meal times to match those of the school day.
- Encourage your child to feed themselves and to practise cutting their own food using a knife and fork.
- Let your child know that talking to their teacher is the right thing to do if ever they feel worried or upset about anything.
Try activities you can do together
- Reading. Not only is reading together fun, it can also improve your child’s listening skills, develop their imagination and increase their knowledge of people and ideas from around the world. Reading together can help you to introduce your child to new words, ideas and information, and help improve their memory.
- Singing songs. A fun way to help improve your child’s language skills is by singing songs together and enjoying rhymes and jokes.
- Talking. Ask your child questions and give them time to think about their reply. Help develop your child’s listening skills by asking them to follow simple instructions, for example how to pack their school bag. Ask them to identify pictures, letters and words in books, on television or the internet. Ask questions about characters, places and events. Retell stories together or create a different ending, making up sentences using a new or unusual word.
- Drawing and writing. Have fun together whilst developing your child’s skills by making marks with pencils, crayons or paintbrushes on paper, or by drawing with sticks in sand. Look at numbers, letters and familiar words you see around you.
- Using numbers, shapes and colours. Involve your child in everyday activities that require counting, for example setting the table for three people. Develop their number skills by encouraging your child to use words such as many, a lot, more or less. Find things in a group that are different, or the same, such as shapes or colours.
- Helping develop their personal and social skills. Arrange for your child to play with other children so that they can learn to share and take turns. Encourage them to tidy up after playing – make sure you join in too and praise their efforts. Remember to give specific instructions; this helps children to be clear about what they are being asked to do, for example “I’d like you to put all of the bricks in the box please.” Talk to your child about feelings and emotion. Encourage them to “have a go” and become more independent, for example dressing themselves, pouring a drink or going to the toilet.
- Helping to develop their physical skills. Find opportunities where you can climb, run, skip, jump and lift together by playing and exploring in the park. Take part in games and activities that make them out of breath.
Play is one of the most important needs children have, even once they go to school. Children learn a lot from times when things don’t go to plan, so under supervision let them have freedom to explore and take some risks.
Here at Green Roots our School Readiness Programme ensures the children are holistically ready for the new and exciting challenges of attending school. Our program focuses on school-related topics, which will encourage group discussion so the children know what to expect when they start school. We strive to support the children with their self-help skills, decision making skills, and expression of thoughts and opinions.
Further information about getting ready for school, including a video ‘Building Kids’ Resilience and Confidence’ by teacher and child psychologist Jean Gross, can be found here.
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