Getting Ready for Nursery/School
Starting Nursery or school is an exciting time for children and parents, but it can also be overwhelming. With some preparation and encouragement, hopefully the transition into nursery or school is a bit easier. Here are some hints, tips and activities to help.
Hints and Tips
- Arrange pre nursery or school visits, to help your child become familiar with where they will be going and learn where important places are like e.g. the toilets, their classroom, playground, head teachers room, lunch room or canteen.
- If possible could the child stay for lunch on the visit?
- Find out what the common activities are or what an average day for your child will look like from the teacher, then discuss this with your child.
- It’s important to explain where they'll be going, what they'll be doing and for how long.
- If your child has any additional needs link with the teacher/school before they start to discuss these.
- If there is a uniform - you can practice together for a few months - dressing/undressing and doing any fastenings.
- Don’t worry, children have varied abilities when they start school and their teacher will help them progress at their own level. They don’t need to be able to read, write or do sums before they start.
- To prepare you child for nursery or school it is important to spend time with them and have fun together. In those preschool years read to them, share stories, sing songs (nursery rhymes) talk about anything and everything.
- Try to give them the chance to spend time with other children the same age, so they can learn to play together, share toys and turn take.
- Try to familiarise your child with letters and numbers before starting school. If you can, read more often with your child. When you’re out try number-spotting. This will help their confidence when they go to school.
- Talk to your child about starting nursery or school. What do they think it will be like? What are they looking forward to? Is there anything they’re worried about?
- Find photos of you and other family members at school, and chat about happy times you spent at school.
- Practise the school morning routine, including getting dressed and eating breakfast in time to leave.
Building Skills for Nursery and School
If children have had the chance to do some learning and practical skills at home this helps when they go to nursery or school and they are less likely to find the experience stressful.
Playing games, doing role play or dress up, and reading at home can help a lot to get them ready for school and build their confidence and skills.
Activities you can try could include:
- Playing games that involve taking turns.
- Playing with children who are of similar age to develop social skills.
- Reading books about starting school.
- Playing with Alphabet letters.
- Playing with cut out numbers so the child has an awareness of these.
- Using your child's favourite toys to role-play going to school.
- Painting and drawing, which involve sitting down for short periods of time.
- Constantly talking to your child and listening to their answers will is a really important activity and builds language skills and social skills.
- Sing Nursery Rhymes and songs that children like that have repetition in them as these will help them to remember new words.
- Telling or reading stories and poems to your child is an important part of developing an interest in reading. This should be an enjoyable experience for yourself and your child. You should aim to do this for a short period (e.g. 10 minutes at least) every day. When reading a story, encourage your child to talk about the pictures and identify characters.
- Let your child hold the book and turn the pages as you read the story.
- Children often ask for the same story over and over again. This should be encouraged, as it shows an interest in reading, and will assist in developing the language of writing, value your child’s choice and encourages decision making.
- Your child may be interested in the sounds and names of individual letters, BUT try not ask too much of them!