Laura Leigh-Hill, Head of Nursery at Bede’s, shares her guide to starting school in September

It is that time of year again! Your four-year-old’s time at pre-school has come to an end and they will begin their school journey, starting in Reception. This is a big change, a milestone in their life and it can feel daunting – for both your child and you! Every child is different and, therefore, settling into a new environment may take days, weeks or even months. No matter how long it takes them to settle into school life, there are some steps you can take to make the transition feel a little easier.

Before they start school in reception:

Help your child to feel familiar with their new environment.

If there is the opportunity, your child should visit their new classroom and meet their new teacher. Getting to know their new surroundings will help to ease any anxieties they may have about being in a new place. At Bede’s, during the Summer Term, Nursery children attend some of the Reception class assemblies and join in lessons. Children new to the school are invited to visit their new class and teachers in the following weeks. This also provides them with an opportunity to meet their peers and for parents to meet one another. Our Reception teachers also visit the Nursery children at play and story times. This means that the children get to know each other, their teachers and their new surroundings before September rolls around, making them more comfortable and even excited for their new start!

2 Communicate positively about their new start.

Speak to your child about how they feel about starting at school. Give plenty of reassurance and listen to any worries they may have. You can talk about any of the new extracurricular activities the child will be involved with and the opportunities that they will be able to embark upon at their new stage in school life. This should help them look forward to what’s to come in September. 

3 Make sure your child has everything they need.

When starting at their new school, it is likely that they will need the correct uniform and PE kit. Your child’s school should provide you with a list of everything they may need. Trying their uniform on will help your child to visualise the next step and feel excitement about their new start.

4 Help your child with some independence skills before they start.

There are some skills that are very useful and will help your child’s transition into Reception more seamless and stress-free. For example, helping your son or daughter to dress and undress and teaching them to put their shoes on (with Velcro). It is also helpful if they can be used to using the toilet independently, washing their hands, holding and using scissors, enjoying stories, recognising their name and writing their name if possible. It is hugely beneficial if you and your son or daughter play letter and sound games (using ‘pure’ sounds) as well as simple maths games. At Bede’s, we offer plenty of resources for our parents to help with the above all before their child walks through the door in September to join Reception.

5 Practise the school run!

It may sound daft, but in the lead up to the start of their school journey it really helps children to be as prepared as possible and simply explaining timings and travelling to and from their school will help ease them into that transition and get them excited about starting school in September. At Bede’s we are fortunate to have the beautiful Eastbourne coastline right on our doorstep, so it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a day at the seaside in the school break whilst practising your route to your new school!

6 It’s a big change for you too…

especially if it’s your first child!  You may be feeling daunted by the prospect and children can easily sense your unease. Ensure you have received all the information from your child’s school so you feel prepared and organised about timings, start of term activities. Make sure you have a list of everything your child needs to bring on their first day and also log-in details for any parent communication portals. At Bede’s we have weekly round-ups, monthly newsletters and also ClassList which give parents a glimpse into their child’s school day. It’s a great way to help spark discussions with your child about what they have been doing at school and give you the reassurance you need that they are settling into school life.

If you or your child are worried about what those first few weeks of Reception may look like, it is important to note that you are not alone and there are many going through the same process and have similar worries. At Bede’s, we pride ourselves on establishing strong links with our parents and believe that maintaining these links are vital to your child’s development. Our door is open for parents to communicate any concerns or questions at any time. It is our priority to create a joyful learning experience for all of our pupils, and we are confident that all Reception pupils will feel comfortable and settled within just a few weeks. 

To find out more about the outstanding teaching, facilities and co-curricular opportunities at Bede’s, sign up for their Prep School Open Morning on Saturday 8 October 2022. Book your place at bedes.org

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