We all want
our children to start school fully prepared and with less than a year to go
until their first day, you will be thinking about how you can make the most of
your child’s pre-school year and help get them off to a flying start.
does my child need to know before starting school? We asked Reception teachers and teaching
assistants which skills benefited children the most as they entered their first
year in school and we've listed their top 5 answers.
The answers may surprise you! Whilst being
able to count and starting to learn to read are important especially for your
child’s self-belief, there are
additional life skills that will benefit your child so that they can engage
with all aspects of school quickly and with confidence.
So we'll start counting down from number 5 and
moving to our number 1 spot... (Which is one of the first things mentioned by
ALL of the staff who contributed).
5. Listening Skills.
From the school register at the start of the
day, to story time and constant instructions throughout the day, it is
important your little one has learned to listen and also to communicate
Playing schools with teddies or toys is great
practice for listening for their name in a register. Taking turns when it comes to
speaking and listening is vital and part of this is learning to put up your
hand to speak.
We all know the importance of reading to your
child too. In addition
to daily reading, having discussions and conversations as often as possible
will develop their conversational skills. Playing board games gives
opportunities for following rules, taking turns and accepting defeat! At Zest 4
Learning, the fun games and activities in your programme are designed to
encourage discussions and build effective communication skills.
4. Social skills and Confidence.
child used to spending time away from a parent will benefit them when they
start school and will help avoid emotional meltdowns.
All children are different and some are so
much more anxious than others, but if you have an anxious child there are
things you can do to help.
get to know the children they will be starting school with before they
start. Seeing familiar faces and knowing
names will make it a more familiar place.
Although tears are very common on the
first few drop offs, and sometimes last for several weeks, it is usually only
at the separation and your child is soon distracted by the day's activities.
This article offers more ideas to help.
3. Recognising and Writing their Own
The first day in a new school is daunting for
every child. There is so much to take in and new routines to follow. This
routine is made easier for everyone if your child can already recognise their
name. For example, finding their coat peg, where their tray is and which
cardigan or jumper is theirs. Being able to write their own name on the back of their pictures
and other treasured work is vital if work does not get misplaced.
At Zest 4 Learning we are offering a FREE template name writing sheet you can print off. It is personalised with your child's name so they can get practicing straight away.
To get yours just email me with their first name. email@example.com
2. Getting Dressed Independently.
Now they can
recognise their own name in their ‘clearly named’ uniform, getting it off and
on again independently is the next challenge!
uniform is kept simple: Velcro shoes, slip on pumps and elasticated waist bands
and when you have finally purchased the uniform, time them getting changed into
their P.E kit and back again! Add an extra challenge to
this by turning t-shirt or jumper inside out. As a jumper pulled off is often
inside out... Can they sort this out and still put it on again?
So already you can start getting your child
to do as much as they can when dressing. Yes, it can take much longer at first
but ultimately it will make life easier. Just bear in mind that if a teacher is
needed to help dress a child and this takes just 1 minute... Times that by 30
children = 30 minutes and the PE lesson is over before it’s begun.
And so what came in at number 1? What aspect was mentioned by all the teaching
staff we questioned...? No it wasn't that copious amounts of wine should be
supplied to the stressed out staff... Only a minority of those surveyed
mentioned wine... (You know who you are!) It's not the ability to wipe your
nose on a hanky rather than sleeve, or use a finger as a means of extraction! (this
was strangely only mentioned by a few!) Nor
is it the ability to tidy up as this will soon be learnt as part of the day’s
routine. The most essential and import thing your child needs to be able to
1. Please be fully Toilet Trained!
By ‘fully’ they don't just mean dry and out
of nappies, it means that they can independently take themselves to the toilet,
know how to wipe, flush, re-dress and wash their hands before leaving the
Reports of "too many bits on show outside of the cubical" were
common. If you have a little boy they can practice aiming skills with a
floating ping pong ball and maybe have them experience urinals too. We received
numerous anecdotes which included children's requests to be wiped after a poo
poo, never having flushed a toilet themselves before and help needed replacing
clothes, especially the girls struggling in woolly tights!
accidents will happen and if your child is prone to this, send in spare clothes
and let the teacher know so they can remind them to go to the toilet. But
please help them practice the basics of toileting independently before they
start school. It helps with their confidence too and by feeling all grown up.
And don't they just grow up oh so quickly...!
You might want
to take a look at this best selling book
What Every Parent Needs to Know: How to
Help Your Child Get the Most Out of Primary School by Miranda Thomas and Toby
Young (Viking £14.99)
This has some
great advice in addition to the self-confidence and competence that can be
gained from the number work, phonics and reading skills gained in the Zest 4
So why not give your child the confidence to excel at school by enroling on the Zest 4 Learning pre-school programme. Their learning journey will take them from counting to sums, from letter recognition to reading, all delivered through fun activities, games and crafts.
For a limited period, we are offering a 20% discount.
So there's never been a better time to start their learning journey! To get your child's personalised Zest 4 Learning start up pack go to www.zest4learning.co.uk/subscribe and enter the Promotional Code: Z4LProud20 valid until Oct 31st 2016