Getting Reception Ready

TEN TOP TIPS FOR GETTING READY TO START RECEPTION 

1. ESTABLISH A MORNING ROUTINE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.

Starting school for the first time can often be a difficult adjustment for everyone involved as it often means a lot of changes to morning routines.  It will help if both you and your child start to think about how long things will take in the morning and consider what could be done the night before to help your mornings run smoothly.  Think about:

  • Do you lay out school clothes the night before?
  • Do you want your child to get dressed before or after their breakfast?
  • When is best to make a packed lunch? 

Practising your new routine a few weeks before your child starts school will also help them get used to it and enable your child to start their day positively and calmly.

2. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO DRESS THEMSELVES AND TAKE THEMSELVES TO THE TOILET.

Making sure your child can manage independently when it comes to toileting and dressing time is an important part of building their confidence and getting them ready for school. Gaining independence in toileting and dressing can go a long way in helping your child to feel confident in their busy new school day.

Things like zips, buttons, zips, coats, socks and shoe buckles can all be tricky for little hands and will need time to master, so spending time before starting school will give your child valuable time to practise and develop these every day key skills.

3. HELP YOUR CHILD GET USED TO THEIR UNIFORM

Children often feel far more relaxed in clothes they are used to wearing, so wearing our uniform may make feel different and make them feel uncomfortable. Getting used to wearing school clothes and shoes can make children feel more relaxed and therefore ready for their big day! 

 4. TALK ABOUT SCHOOL LUNCHES

All children in Reception are entitled to a free healthy school dinner. Discussing beforehand what is on the school menu will enable your child to approach their lunchtime confidently. If you are providing a packed lunch, make sure your child can open and close their lunch box independently. Only put enough food in their lunch box that they will be able to eat within their lunch time.  Our lunch time is an hour, giving children ½ hour to eat and ½ hour to play and socialise on the playground with their peers.

5. PRACTICE YOUR JOURNEY TO SCHOOL

Before your child starts at school, have fun practising your journey to school a few times. Not only will this help you know how long it will take you to get to school, but it will also give your child time to take in their new surroundings. Remember to talk to your child about road safety during your walk: Stop! Look! Listen!

6. BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE SCHOOL

Schools can be very large places which some children being overwhelmed when they first visit.  To support your child with becoming familiar with Hill Farm, ensure you attend all ‘Stay and Play’ sessions and talk about school regularly in a positive way.  During these sessions we will make sure that they know where the toilets are and where to find things. However, when children first start school they will probably be faced with situations which they don’t fully understand or need more information, such as wanting a particular puzzle or coloured pencil.  We have lots of different activities, which encourage your child to feel confident in asking if they are unsure. An easy way to do this at home is through small world play. Use little characters to act out starting school and have the characters ask some of the questions which your child might need to know.

7. READ STORIES TO HELP TALK ABOUT FEELINGS

Many children will be anxious about starting school because it is such a big change for them.  A great way to talk about feelings is through reading stories.  There are many excellent books about starting school which you can read together and talk through all the pictures.  Some other fantastic books about emotions and feelings are ‘The Colour Monster’ and ‘The Worry Monster’. Reading these will help your child recognise various feelings and be able to label these to staff at school so they can help them.

8. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO LISTEN AND CONCENTRATE FOR SMALL PERIODS OF TIME

During your child’s day at school, they will be encouraged to sit and listen attentively which can be quite a considerable challenge for many children when starting school. Giving your child simple activities to help them develop these key skills can be really beneficial, such as listening to a story, completing a jigsaw puzzle quietly at a table or colouring in a picture. Your child may only complete a few minutes to start with which can then increase over a period of time.

9. PUT A TOKEN FROM HOME IN THEIR BAG

If your child would benefit from the reassurance of something from home, a way round this is to sew a small piece of ribbon or soft fabric inside one of your child’s pockets or a special key ring for their book bag. Your child can hold onto it if they are feeling anxious and it connects them to you. Please be advised that no large toys are allowed into school in case they get lost or broken.

 10. SMILE AND ENJOY TIME TOGETHER

It can be just as tough for parents to say goodbye for the first time as well as their child – it’s quite an emotional experience.  You can help your child feel confident about their new adventure with a big smile, a wave and let them know you are looking forward to finding out what they have been up to. It is great if your child is able to join us on our stay and play sessions as they can help children feel at ease and look forward to starting school. These visits with help your child familiarise themselves with the new faces they’ll meet, what their classroom looks like, their teacher’s names, where the toilets are and lots more which will help them feel at ease when they start school in the Autumn term.

Here is an excellent website that has a range of resources to support with the transition into school.

Starting School FREE DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES