We recently embarked on a school readiness project with a view to supporting early years settings in preparing children for this transition.
During our research schools told us that aside from ensuring children had a range of essential skills, engaging parents was one of their biggest challenges. It is well known that parents are one of the biggest influences in supporting children’s successful future learning. However, schools said far too many parents arrive with their children and expect the school to do the job of educating them alone. They do not appreciate the impact they themselves have on their child’s future learning or how their involvement makes a difference.
Whilst the reasons for this might be of some debate and even interest it is not the topic of this blog. Although what we have turned our thoughts to is how we in early years could do something about this, as part of a parent readiness programme, alongside the school readiness programme.
So in considering what we could do to get parents more involved, we turned to the key skills that the children would require, according to the schools included in our research. We concluded that parents needed to be better informed about what they could be doing at home to support the specific skills and knowledge their children needed. However, we also knew that many early years practitioners themselves were not clear on what exactly they should be aiming for as a core set of skills for school readiness.
Whilst we do have the EYFS to guide us, there has never been any clear criteria laid out by government for school readiness, and although it should be recognised that some of the requirements are localised, we have not come across any generic set of skills. In fact, when we spoke to the local schools, they all had slightly different criteria. So what we have done is taken information from the schools, linked it to Early Learning Goals where possible and developed our own generic list. We went on to develop tools for early years settings, both for practitioners and parents. We are not aware of any other such programme available to settings and some of the emphasis is different to what some might expect.
Our overview of these skills are here. There are plenty of things both practitioners and parents can do at home to support children within these areas;
- Getting Dressed – making games out of putting their clothes on inside out
- Maths – practice counting actual objects rather than just using the number names
- Phonics – not being worried about reading and writing but working on sounds in words
- Life Skills – making sure your child can independently wipe their nose, wash & dry their hands and can ask to go to the toilet
- Social Skills – getting them used to large groups of children by socialising with more children in unfamiliar places
- Attitude – getting your children into regular routines, morning and evening, talking to them about their feelings as well
You can download a FREE Parent Poster with these tips on here.
Talking with your parents and working with them is essential to making this a fun time for all the children.
We have turned all this information into a useful set of practitioner key cards and created a PowerPoint presentation to share with parents as the time approaches their making choices and preparing for the next transition. Alongside this we have a for and against sheet for private nursery and nursery classes in school. You can also find out here what schools said when we asked them why they didn’t use our early years transfer profiles that often takes hours to prepare.
We wish all of your children a successful transition to school.