At Just Childcare, we know that starting school is one of the most important milestones for both child and parent. There is the element of the unknown as well as the change in routine, environment and new people to make relationships with and build attachments to. This includes you as parents too! Throughout our Just Childcare settings our amazing nursery teams aim to do all they can to support and celebrate this transition, ensuring that your child is well prepared for their next stage of learning through our Ready for School approach.

There are a lot of myths around what a child needs to be able to do before moving on to school. This includes being able to write, especially their name, count to 100, know all their phonics, and be able to name all shapes and colours (to name but a few).

Not every child will be able to achieve all of these, and it is important to remember that every child is individual and unique. At Just Childcare, we enable children to flourish to their own potential at their own pace with the aim of supporting them to become ‘school ready’, but most importantly ensuring that they feel safe and secure within their new school environment.

Michelle, our Quality Business Partner North, shares how we support your child during this transition period, and suggests a few ways you can help from home.

Right from the very first day that your child joins us at nursery, we are always working to prepare them for their next adventure. We recognise that starting “big school” can be a worrying time for both you and your child and talking about it certainly helps. Your child’s key person is always on hand to discuss the transition with you, to guide and support and to help make it as smooth as possible.

In the lead up to your child starting school, we start to add little prompts and activities that support your child through play. These include:

School Uniform: In our role play areas, you will find school uniforms from a selection of schools in your local area which will allow your child to familiarise themselves with their what they’ll be wearing… they’ll also be able to dress up in them as well!

Book / PE bags: It wouldn’t feel like school without a book and PE bag, so we’ll also introduce these into your child’s routine. We have a lending library with a selection of books, with only pictures inside, so that you child can start to understand the structure of a story before words are added. Our nurseries offer PE lessons, where your child can practice getting changed for the lesson in the comfort and familiarity of nursery before having to do this on their own at school. We also encourage your child to fold their own clothes in the way in which they would put them back on (to make it easier) and this is something you could also do at home.

Photos: Photographs of the school your child is attending are placed in the role play area at nursery. Your child’s key worker will talk to your little one daily about the school they’ll be joining, talking about their new teachers name and the exciting things that will happen when they start school. Gentle reminders and talking through with your child at their pace are key. Some children will feel anxious and worried, this is perfectly normal and we ensure to just take it all at your child’s speed.

Walking past your child’s school and pointing out their classroom can also help during the transition period. You could even attend the school’s summer fayre, it gives you and your child another chance to have a look around inside, while having fun and no doubt your child’s class teacher will be there so you can say hi!

Lunchtime routines: You may know that at lunchtime in nursery, your child has developed the important skills to serve themselves their own meal. It’s slightly different at school and again to prepare your child, we have little activities whereby we place a ball on a tray and encourage your child to carry it across the room trying not to drop it or let it roll off! Your child will need the skills to carry a lunch tray from the serving area at school to their table. Lots of practice and family fun trying this one and your child will be successful and confident in the school hall at mealtimes.

Don’t worry that your child has not yet fully developed their reading and writing skills. At nursery we have been supporting them through stories, songs and rhymes to develop their reading skills and we give your child access to plenty of pencils, chalk and pens so they can practice holding these correctly, making sure that their little hands and fingers are gripping them properly. These are all important skills that lay the foundation for the teacher to build upon.

Most importantly, talk to your child. Listen to any concerns that they may have and share them with your child’s key person so you can work together to make the transition period as fun and easy as possible. Your child’s new teacher is likely to come to nursery to visit them and your child’s key person will be on hand to relay any concerns.

If your little one is leaving us in September to take the next steps on their education journey, make sure you have applied for your Primary School place by 15th January 2024. Click here to find out more about the primary school admissions process in your local area and complete your application form.