Is your child ready for school?

Recent OFSTED’s Bold Beginning report about Reception Year has led to multiple conversations in the last few months between parents, teachers and early years professionals about “school readiness”.

In her latest public speech at Alliance Annual Conference, OFSTED Inspector in Chief, Amanda Spielman pointed out that some children are falling behind by the age of four, mentioning those “unlucky” ones who do not spend as much time learning “nursery rhymes, ABCs and setting down for a story”, and therefore are not well equipped for starting school.

The Reception year is critical for children: this is when teachers and staff establish the rules, routines and expectations of learning that will serve children well and follow them through the rest of their formal schooling. For some children, this is the first time they experience full-time education.

And the research has shown that children attending an Early Years setting are generally more “school ready” than their peers staying at home, and school readiness is behind everything we are doing at Buttons Day Nursery.

How do we prepare children for school at Buttons Day Nursery?

By the end of Reception Year, the ability to read, write and use numbers is fundamental, as they are the building blocks for all other learnings. Without firm foundations in these areas, a child’s life chances can be severely restricted. The basics need to be taught – and learned – from the start.

In our nursery, our Preschool rooms provide a language-rich environment, and focus greatly on communication and language. Speaking and listening are at the heart of everything we do. We link language with physical and practical experiences and provide a print-rich environment with an abundance of opportunities for children to engage with books. We also follow Government’s endorsed teaching and learning programs for early phonics, Letters and Sounds and Boogimites to ensure that children are ready from the start.

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Children benefit hugely by exposure to books from an early age. Lots of opportunities are provided for all our children, regardless of their age, to engage with books, as we want this very early exposure to fire their imagination and interest. Our children are encouraged to choose and peruse books freely as well as sharing them with their friends and adults. Enjoying and sharing books leads to children seeing them as a source of pleasure and interest and motivates them to value reading!

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Amanda Spielman also reports on how children are struggling with basic tasks at school as they are unable to dress themselves and use the toilet independently.  A recent ATL survey claimed that 70% of schools were reporting that more were children starting school without being toilet trained and a YouGov survey commissioned by hygiene company Essity estimated that teachers spend 30 minutes every week cleaning up after children have been to the toilet.

At Buttons, we are strong believers in equipping children and giving them the independence skills needed to build their self-esteem, self -believe and confidence. From a very early age, children in our nurseries are supported to make choices and be independent. This can range from self-selection of activities, choosing to play indoors or outdoors, self-serving themselves their lunch or helping themselves to fresh drinking water when they feel thirsty. We strongly encourage them to express themselves and to access the toilet when they need. The list is endless, and you will be amazed at what some of the very youngest children in our nurseries can do independently!

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Finally, the Ofsted chief also reports on how children are lacking in basic skills to help them manage simple tasks like holding a pencil, kicking a ball, putting on their shoes, taking off their coat, understand the word ‘no’, ‘stop’ sitting and concentration skills.

These really are just everyday occurrences in our nurseries. Fine motor skills are encouraged daily to strengthen the muscles in little one’s fingers. Your child will not be able to hold a pencil if these muscles are not strong and used regularly, just the same as you would not be able to carry heavy weights or run for miles. We use playdough disco, mark making, mud kitchens and all kinds of fun and interesting ways to prepare our children for holding a pencil correctly, making marks and ideally starting school being able to write at least their own name.

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Is your child ready for Reception year? Why not book a visit or get in touch with us to see how we can support you to prepare your child for school and help develop a life-long passion for learning? We welcome children for a minimum of 2 sessions per week and up to 5 days, and provide a lot of extra-curriculum activities for the little ones. Book your visit now!