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Preparing for the transition between preschool and primary school

Many of you will be thinking about what you should be doing to prepare your children for school and also wondering what we will be doing. We have attached the following information: 

  • transition arrangements (as far as we know), 

  • How you can help prepare me for big school (kindly passed on by a previous parent who is a primary head teacher)

  • ideas for providing rich learning experiences 

  • ideas for how to share books

  • top techniques for supporting speech and language

There are a few important things to note:


1) Your children are all different, have different strengths and develop in different ways at different times. Please don't worry if they cannot do something that another child can do - in almost all cases they will do it in their own time.


2) There is a danger that all of childhood is taken up with preparing for the next stage. Make sure you give your children lots of opportunity to enjoy being who they are now.  


3) Another danger is that you will feel that your child should be sitting down learning to read and write and do maths. Encourage any interest your child shows but note that 


  • Research shows both that a child is more likely to be discouraged by pressure to read and write too early when they are showing no interest to do so and that, by the age of 14, children who have had other rich learning experiences in the pre-school years have done better. 

  • The muscles needed for holding a pen or pencil with a pincer grip are only just developing and develop later for boys than for girls. 

  • Full appreciation of conservation of number and even an understanding that counting can be about totalling rather than labelling may not happen until a child is 7 so don’t panic if your child cannot count accurately now.   


Instead, we concentrate on putting down the foundation blocks for developing maths, literacy and wider learning and providing the rich learning experiences described in the attached note. 


4) When your child starts school, the adult:child ratios will be much lower than they have experienced at pre-school and certainly than you have at home. Help your child to grow in independence, not only in the things they do but the way they think and learn (again see attached 'rich learning experiences')


5) There will be times when your child doesn't appear to be learning anything and they seem to want to do the same activity or game again and again without seeming to move on. Children repeat activities again and again to consolidate their learning and also for reassurance, particularly when they are unsettled as they may be now with another change ahead when they go to school. Introduce other ideas but do allow lots of repetition.

Top tips - with input from a reception teacher

First of all it is really important that you don’t make your child sit down to do the reading, writing and maths at this stage, as you could out them off and that would not be a good start for school where they will be doing a lot of it. However, if your child shows an interest, here are some suggestions:

  • Encourage understanding of letter sounds instead of letter names, for example a is for ant and apple

  • If you want to help your children learn to write, start by helping them to hold a pen properly and then encouraging them to draw over line patterns like those shown below:

  • When learning to write and understand letters of the alphabet, use lower case letters instead of capital letters, the only capital letters they should learn is the one at the beginning of their name and the letter I, their name should be the first word they learn to spell.    The children should be learning: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z, so they are able to write words/sentences which are similar to I am Lauren 

  • Continue developing their recognition of numbers, with the focus on 0 - 10 but being able to count from 0 - 20 

  • Help with the development and understanding of subitising up to 5 using a range of different activities, Subitising is the recognition of a group of objects without counting them individually, for example we know that the majority of people have 5 fingers on a hand so when all fingers are up we must be showing the number 5, children are also more likely to be able to subitise the dots on a dice as dice are included within some games meaning that children get more opportunities to be able to recognise dice sides. Playing with dice, cards and five/tens frame can encourage learning opportunities.

  • Give children the opportunity to develop their mathematics skills, below are some buttons which will take you to pages with possible activities:

  • Read books together to encourage an interest in reading.
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