Preparing your Child for Nursery and School
- Familiarise yourselves with nursery and school: Come along to all the visits and meetings. Walk past and see the children playing. Talk about your child’s interests and what they’ll enjoy doing. Read books about starting nursery and school (eg. Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg; I am too absolutely small for school by Lauren Child), Lucy and Tom go to School by Shirley Hughes, Harry & the Dinosaurs go to School by Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds). Include your child in shopping trips to buy school things such as a lunch box.
- Encourage independence:Encourage your child to be as independent as possible when getting dressed and undressed. Encourage them to put on their own shoes and coat. Help them as much as possible to manage the toilet themselves and to wash their hands independently.
- Teach basic social skills: Give your child opportunities to play with children their own age, so they are use to sharing and interacting with other children. Teach them that it is not OK to snatch or to use any inappropriate behaviour when things don’t go their way. Make sure they don’t always get their own way at home!!
- Give your child basic instructions to follow: Your child will need to be able to follow instructions, so ask them to do things for you, such as set the table, or fetch their own coat and hat. It would also be useful if you could teach your child to tidy-up after themselves!!
- Be positive: Remember- all these activities should be FUN!! Be upbeat and positive, even if you are worried yourself! Don’t use school as a threat by saying “You won’t be able to get away with that at school”, but emphasise the positive things that the teacher might expect.
In terms of preparing your child for giving them the best start academically we suggest you do the following:
- Talk with your child about the world around them, answer their questions, take them with you on little outings and show an interest their activities.
- Make the most of every day experiences- bake together, weigh the apples at the supermarket, read door numbers on the way to the park, count things for a purpose, play board games together…
- Read, read and read!! We would strongly encourage you to read to your child as often as possible. Bedtime stories are a must! We will keep you up-to-date with the best books to read in children’s literature. To start you off, read books by Julia Donaldson, Jez Alborough and Martin Waddell. Read favourite stories over and over again until you and your child know them by heart. Poetry is ideal for this too. Teach pre-reading skills- that we get meaning from the print and that print is read from left to right.
- Help your child to recognise their own name. Only the first letter should be a capital- the rest should be lower case. If your child is ready for it, you could also get them to write their own name.