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...to help your child settle at school

  1. Visit the School and go to their open events together. Go on as many tours as they need so they can get to know where things are.

  2. Ask the School if they have any events coming up that you can go to such as concerts, fairs, productions. This too will help them get used to the new school environment.

  3. Look on the School website together, ask for their School newsletters, visit their social media pages and flick through the pictures and videos they have. Find the information and images of clubs, activities, trips and lessons you know your child will get excited about.

  4. Make sure your child has all the right uniform and sports kit.

  5. Show your child the School’s lunch menu.

  6. Encourage your child to take part in the Schools clubs and extra-curricular activities. This will help them make friends quicker and often across year groups.

  7. Try to involve yourself in the School so you can get to know the staff and parents. This will make meeting up with other parents and their children, outside of school, a lot easier.

...for a Smooth Transition into Reception Class

1.  Sherfield is the place to be!

The Friends of Sherfield put on wonderful events throughout the year including a Christmas market, Summer Fair, Firework shows and so much more so visit Sherfield when you can with your child. The more that your child gets used to the school, the easier the transition will be. There is also a parent café that you are welcome to use at your own leisure. You can use this room to meet other parents and children from the school, whilst enjoying a complimentary cup of tea or coffee.

2.  Let’s Talk about School

Ensure that you talk about school when you can in order to normalise it. This also allows the children to build up a picture of what to expect. For example, if you are walking around and see a pond, you could talk about how Sherfield has a pond too. You could ask them questions such as ‘do you think Sherfield has ducks also?’. Roleplay with your child being the student and teacher, introducing them to narratives that they find themselves in when at school. You could set up a new table each week in your house with different activities for them to explore. One week you could make a writing table, encouraging them to write sounds, words etc. The following week, you could change the table into a creative table where they could paint or draw pictures.

3. Sharing is Caring

Ensure that you are asking your child how they feel about starting school, really listening to what they have to say. It is important not to brush off any concerns and that your child feels like their worries are valued. You could ask some of the following questions: “What are you most looking forward to?; Are you worried about anything? and What do you think your teacher will be like?”. Read books about starting school together, look at your child’s school prospectus and/or website together and talk about the images. If your child seems anxious about school, try focusing on the things they’ll like best – maybe the sports, playground or new friends. Ensure that you communicate with the class teacher about any concerns that your child may have.

4. Sherfield Says Relax

Your child may not be the one who is anxious! It’s natural to feel nervous about your child starting school but remember that the teacher knows what they are doing and has seen hundreds of children starting school before. Your child can easily pick up on your emotions so if you don’t want to leave them at school, they won’t want to go. Ensure that you are always positive when talking about school - if you are enthusiastic and confident, they will be too. Avoid using any negative language such as “you’ll get in trouble if you behave like that at school”.

5. I can do it too!

When your child starts school, we encourage them to be as independent as possible - a child who can do things for themselves will feel happier and more settled. There are many useful skills you can practise to help your child become independent and confident at school including putting on a coat; sitting up at a table; eating with a knife and fork; using a tissue to blow their nose; washing their own hands; tidying up after themselves and being fully toilet trained during the day (including wiping). Don’t worry if your child can’t do all these things before they start school. The teachers and support staff will help them learn these skills, so let them know what your child finds tricky.

7. Strike a Pose

Your child will enjoy trying on their smart new uniform and role-playing being at school. Let them practise getting undressed and dressed ready for the big day, you can even use a timer to make it more fun and this also helps with their speed. There is a long list of items on your school uniform list, many of which they may have not had to wear before. It is important to introduce each of the items, talking through their names (tunic may throw some) and discussing when we wear them. When shopping for new uniform, ensure that you place your order from Stevensons (Reading) with plenty of time as they get very busy! When it comes to shirts/blouses, look for items with larger buttons that are easier for little fingers and a Velcro top button is always a hit! When it comes to shoes, Velcro is preferable to laces. Teach them tricks for getting dressed like laying the clothing on the floor, having the labels at the back, rolling up tights and holding cuffs to avoid sleeves riding up. Why not take a photograph of them in their new uniform and stick it to the fridge, to help them picture themselves at school? Sometimes children lose parts of their uniform, so please ensure everything is clearly labelled to make the finding process a little easier.

8. What’s your name?

Help them to recognise their name. Your child won’t be expected to write their own name independently at the start of school, but it’s often helpful if they can recognise their own name on a coat peg or name label. Putting their name on their door to their room is a quick and easy way to enable them to see their name on a daily basis. As well as this, you can play ‘spot my name games’ including putting your child’s name and other names on post-it notes around the house and see if they can spot their name. If your child is ready, why not practise writing some of the sounds in sand, glitter and/or in shaving foam. If you have magnetic letters, this is a fun way for children to build their name. However, they may need their name written down to refer to it. When your child draws a picture, you could write their name in highlighter and then ask them to write over your writing.

9. Sherfield Says

Games such as ‘Simon Says’ and ‘Can you find?’ are great for helping little ones practise their listening skills, which will be an important skill at school where they will need to follow their teacher’s instructions. Once they’ve mastered simple instructions, try adding two or three together: “Take off your coat then wash your hands and sit down at the table please”. Encourage your child to ask questions, ensuring that you are also modelling how to ask questions to them.

10. Make a Date

If you already know some of the other children that go to Sherfield or that will be starting in Reception class too, why not organise a play date or outing together before school starts? As well as helping the youngsters to develop their social skills, it’s helpful for you to be able to chat about your own feelings and anxieties with the parents, who may be feeling the same. Most classes have a Whatsapp group which all of the parents are part of, this is a quick and easy way for parents to communicate something to the other parents. For example, it is a great way to find lost jumpers or just to socialise with the other parents. You will quickly find out that the Sherfield parents make strong bonds with each other and you too as the parents will develop a friendship group (not just the children).

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