Is My Child Ready To Start School?
Tam has written this blog to help our families at Free Rangers make a positive transition to school, but we also thought this might be useful to many other families, please read below.
At Free Rangers we believe that if a child is confident in their abilities and can communicate their wants, needs and emotions they are more likely to have a positive transition into school. We develop these skills during our children’s time in the den room. We encourage children to be independent, to risk assess, to take on challenges. We guide children to understand their emotions by ‘emotion coaching’ them. We develop the skills of negotiation, explaining and listening to others. Our children are actively encouraged to dress independently and access their own bags. This doesn’t come without it’s challenges as we can be helping a child then turn around to find two children have decided to change their clothes leaving all their belongings on the floor! This process is not easier for the nursery staff however we know that children need to learn to be independent, take responsibility for their belongings and actions. Imagine the school classroom getting ready for physical education class and all the school clothes look the same with up to thirty children getting changed at the same time. Free Rangers children are encouraged to look after themselves and their belongings, in fact we have been lucky enough to have feedback from local schools who say, ‘we know who the Free Rangers children are because they show increased confidence and can organise themselves, their belongings and are ready to learn.’
Many people focus on the ‘specifics’ of learning, literacy, maths, writing. They get caught up in the idea that a child should be writing their own name and able to do sums by the time they start school. At Free Rangers we know that if a child cannot ‘function’ at school, if they don’t have the confidence in themselves and their abilities they won’t learn. Children who worry about using the toilet, changing their clothes, how to organise their belongings will not be able to focus on their learning. Don’t get us wrong, at Free Rangers we encourage children to develop their skills in the specific areas depending on each child’s abilities and desire to learn however it is the prime areas that we know need to be there to pave the way for learning once in infant school. Your child's learning and development summary is forwarded onto school in the form of a 'moving on' document.
If your child has an identified need that requires learning support Free Rangers speak about this to your child’s new school and complete a ‘kept in mind’ book which highlights what is needed for the child to enable them to learn. We talk about areas needing support and what works for your child. If children qualify for funding for learning support this is applied for in the December before the school year. Children needing support but do not have a targeted outcome plan may have notes added to the ‘moving on’ form where there is a section for parents to write their concerns. The majority of schools make nursery visits and some home visits giving you and your child the opportunity to meet with their teacher and teaching assistant. Free Rangers make school books which are accessible to children during free play with photographs of the schools and staff that have been allocated to the year group. School clothes and bags are incorporated into role play again for access during free play where children can engage in role play and act out their thoughts and ideas about school. This process is key to children 'understanding' what school means for them, what to expect and helps them to realise they have similarities to others who go to infant school in September.