I know it seems ages away that your 3 1/2year old will be attending school next September, but believe me it will come around quick.
To makesure your little one is ready for school and has be given the best possible chance to succeed I have spoken to a primary school reception teacher on what she believes are key skills for a child to be able to do before they reach school.
This will give you plenty of time to get them up to speed before they start.
What are the three most important things that children need to do before they start reception?
• Be able to go to the toilet independently and learn how to wipe themselves without adult support.
• Be able to independently get themselves dressed and undressed into their PE kit and school uniform.
• Have had opportunities to spend time periods away from their parents with other children to teach them how to separate from parents and socialise with other children.
You can just imagine that it could take the whole P.E. lesson to get 30 children changed, so if you practice this at home it will makesure that they get more out of a P.E. lesson than just in the changing rooms! It’s also a great way to get them excited about school to try the uniform on, it will make you consider sensible sports and school shoes that are easy to put on!
Is it important that children can write their own name?
It is important that children are able to recognise and write their own name. They are then able to write their name on each picture/ piece of work they do. Children feel a sense of achievement and pride in being able to do this. It is also impossible for a Reception teacher to be able to hand out all pictures done every day by 30 children if they are not named.
Dot to dot or using a highlighter pen is a great way to get them tracing their name for practice. Naming all of your child’s items means they can start to recongise their own stuff and asking them to pass say Freddie’s lunch box from the cupboard is an every day way to reinforce this learning.
Is it important that children can recognise and say each letter of the alphabet?
If children are able to have prior knowledge of letter sounds and can make the grapheme-phoneme correspondence, especially with the letters in their name, this will help them as they begin the phonics programme taught at school.
Prior to learning letter sounds what is initially important is to work with the children on their listening skills. Children need to be able to identify different everyday sounds and distinguish between different environmental sounds. Also working with children on being able to blend sounds together eg put it in the b-i-n – bin and hear initial sounds in words are key skills to be taught before learning their letter sounds.
Is it important that children can count from 1 – 20?
Yes, it is also important that they can count objects with 1:1 correspondence and that they understand the total number of objects in a set. For example if they have 5 toy cars, that they can count them one at a time, saying one number name per car and after counting when asked, so how many do you have? To understand they have 5 without needing to count from 1 again.
Can reading fluently before they start school be a detriment to their learning in reception?
No not at all! Being able to read, whatever their age is a positive thing.
Anything else you think parents will benefit from knowing?
Children need to have a positive view of school given to them from their parents before they start. They need to see it as a fun place of learning where they will play and learn with other children. They need to know that they go to school for a purpose.
The last comment is really interesting, that we need to make the whole learning experience positive. It’s so important to remind our children of the fun that can be had at school and the really intersting things they will be learning.
It can be hard to think of fun things to do with the kids that have learning objects. Well you are lucky as every month we will be putting up new activities to do that will help get your child ready for school.