We have compiled some typical questions we get asked and have answered them in as much detail as we can.
- When will I find out about my child's Reception class and teacher?
Your child is very lucky and will have two experienced teachers working with them and a Teaching Assistant.
Mrs Whitehall will work with the children Monday and Tuesday. She has been at the school for 7 years and has worked with a range of ages. She has been working in Reception since December 2019 and is really enjoying it.
Mrs Derbyshire is the EYFS Co-Ordinator and will work with the children Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. She has been at the school for 6 years and has always worked with Reception children. She is very passionate about making sure the environment is set up appropriately for the children and ensures planning is done based on children’s interests.
Mrs Williams is the Teaching Assistant who has been at the school for many years and has worked across all age ranges. She has been in Reception for several years now and loves working with the children. She will be in Reception 5 days a week and is a very caring member of staff who children feel they can talk to.
Normally we would invite you to a New Parents' Meeting in June and present you with all the initial information you need regarding your child starting school. However, due to Covid-19, we are unable to host this meeting. We will be sending out packs to your houses (using the address we have on record). We anticipate the start of September looking potentially different to normal. In the meantime, the below questions and answers should give you lots of information.
- How can I be a part of my child's education as much as possible? School is so important!
Indeed it is! From a teacher's point of view we would love it if every parent did the following:
Provide school routine in a morning so children are not late or hungry.
Make sure your child knows who is picking them up on that particular day.
Read to your child every evening. Never stop! (well maybe in their teens if you have to.)
Read with your child for about 10mins every day.
Show interest in their sounds of the week.
Count on and back from 20 when you're in the car, in the bath, walking home, eating peas...
Keep updated with the web page for information.
Read and write in the new Reading Record each week.
Talk to them as much as you can. If they can't say it, they won't read, write, explain for themselves.
- My child does full time at nursery. Why might you only do part-time to start with?
We usually have 7 weeks of transition before the summer holidays whereby your child gets to visit their classroom every week for an hour and they also do a full day. They get to meet both teachers, getting to know us and in return we get to know them. Due to the current situation we are unable to provide these transition times which will have a huge impact if we started full time hours straight away in September and lots of children have been used to being with parents all day every day, it will be a huge change for them to separate for a whole day. As educators, we know that the most learning is done when the children are happy and settled. For some children they settle really quickly, others take ages.
We will be arranging a part time start for the first couple of weeks and will pass on more information when we have planned this. We will be building that crucial relationship with your child - you are the first educator, you want to know that the second educator is in the best place they can be for your child's learning. By doing part time hours for the first few weeks everyone is then ready for the onslaught of full time. My advice: do not underestimate the exhaustion your child will feel during that first term (and beyond!) at some point.
- Is the reception year all about painting and playing?
This year is called the Foundation Stage and with your support will set your child up for the rest of their school life. We will teach them how to behave at school, how to learn at school, how to speak to others at school, how to become independent learners and thinkers at school, how to read, how to write, how to count, add up, take away, learn number facts, understand what a number means, how to hold a pencil with pinch n prop, how to write using cursive handwriting, how to segment words to spell them, how to use scissors, how to get changed independently and manage their toilet needs independently, how to walk through school, how to ask for help, how to ask for a playmate, how to not play with someone they don't want to, how to deal with boisterous games, how to climb, how to catch a ball, how to throw a ball, how to make gymnastic shapes and travel and roll, how to use gardening equipment, how to create an obstacle course, how to use a fireman's pole, how to use our playground equipment, how to use a whiteboard pen on a whiteboard not their jumper/carpet/friend, how to ask questions, how to answer questions, how to show curiosity about the world we live in, how to talk in front of the whole class, how to listen when someone else is talking, how to share, how to talk when they feel worried/hurt/cross/shy/misunderstood/over-excited..., how to be resilient when things/people don't go their way, how to be determined to be a better reader/writer/mathematician/friend, how to look after school property, how to look after themselves, how to draw more creatively, how to colour in, how to do a puzzle and a board game, how to win gallantly but considerately, how to lose with courage... And yes we play and we paint because small children who are 4-5years old need to learn through some play that they chose for themselves and we can facilitate the learning and through some play that we chose they do to promote learning.
As soon as you have got your Tapestry account up and running in September, you will see the dozens and dozens of assessment judgements the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile requires. Painting is not specifically on there!
- Where do I drop off and collect my child each day?
Usually you would bring your child down to their new classroom for the first week and then drop them off at the school door after that. We are unsure of what the restrictions will be in September but we will let you know as soon as possible how dropping off and collecting your child will happen.
- What time does school start and finish?
Usually school starts at 8.45am and finishes at 3.30pm. Due to the current situation and having part time hours for the first few weeks this will change and we will let you know as soon as possible the arrangements for September.
- Can I drop my child off earlier than 8.30am?
Breakfast club is available. Ask in the Office for details of costs and times.
- What does my child need to bring to school every day?
Named water bottle (water only, no juice/squash)
Named book bag and Reading Record.
Named coat (always), jumper or cardigan
- What happens if they have a toilet accident?
Wet ones will be dealt with as soon as we know about it and we will discreetly hand you the wet clothes at the end of the day. If it is another type of accident we may need to contact you for safeguarding reasons.
We then ask you to wash and return the spare clothes as soon as possible as we have a limited supply of spare pants/trousers/socks etc.
- What PE kit will my child need?
In the winter term, trainers/plimsolls will be needed for outside PE as well as black joggers and a white t-shirt.
In the summer term, trainers/plimsolls will be needed for outside PE as well as black shorts and a white t-shirt.
We will mostly have PE on Tuesday afternoons.
The PE kit will be sent home every half term for a wash.
- How will I tell you who is picking up my child?
1. There will always be a member of staff on our school door in the morning, please tell them.
2. Write a note and train your child to hand it to their teacher/ta as they come in. (Maybe they could practise by handing notes to an adult when visiting family/friends.)
- What do I do if I am not going to be able to pick my child up at exactly 3.30pm each day?
You will need to find an alternative person or arrange for your child to attend our After School Club provision (you can ask at the office about this).
If it is a one-off (i.e. stuck in unexpected traffic), you must phone the office so that we know who else is picking up or to ask us to keep your child for 10 minutes. Obviously this cannot be a regular occurrence.
- Should I be teaching my child to write their name or read?
No. Recognising their (full) name would be a great start and they should have had quite a lot of hearing sounds at pre-school which is vital to picking up reading more quickly but we will be teaching them to write their name in cursive writing not print so sometimes this can feel like 'unlearning' what they know and be a barrier. Just read to them LOTS and engage them in the book. Do lots of counting. But basically, talk, talk, talk (and practise dressing and undressing and using the toilet!)
- What do I (and you) do if my child is crying when I drop them off?
We're used to it! Most children will cry at dropping off time at some point in the year as tiredness gets to them or they realise they have to keep coming to this school thing every day!
We will ask you to try to release yourself from them asap and we will help you with this by trying to distract your child with stickers etc in the classroom so you can get out of the Reception playground area as soon as possible. We promise you they will be ok within minutes. We do understand how upsetting this can be for all concerned (we deal with it confidently and compassionately but we are not 'hardened' to it and cannot see a time when we will ever be).
- How many jumpers should I buy?
That's a hard one! 2?
Pop by and see the ridiculous lost property we have to know that if you don't keep on top of the naming of uniform bits, you may not get it back. Every time you wash something, check the name is still clearly visible.
There will, inevitably, be times when another child goes home with the wrong jumper/trousers/shoes ... you name it! But as soon as we/the parent knows because it is named, we generally get everything back.
- Will my child come home really dirty after a day at school?
We will use paints, chalk, water, have a mud kitchen, be using the gardening area and the outside areas can be muddy/dusty so be prepared. Fortunately we don't expect a pristine uniform after that first morning so don't put that pressure on yourself! Just know that they are having fun whilst learning.
- Why is my child so tired? They are used to full time nursery!
Getting used to new routines and people (big and little ones) is tiring. Also school is different to pre-school/nursery as much as we try to replicate it for this transition, we do not have the same numbers of adults or the same free flow.
- When will I hear about how my child is doing?
This is a big difference between nursery/school- we are unable to get round all of you to give you the kind of 1:1 daily report you may be used to. Take it as 'no news is good news' at the moment! If you would like to have a more personal chat, we are around at pick up time most days before our teacher meetings.