Useful links for new parents/carers
We hope you find these links useful to help you and your child prepare for starting school.
BBC Bitesize Starting Primary School page has a fantastic range of tips, information and ideas to help support the transition to school, including short videos on developing independence, toilet training, bedtime routines, and how to support learning at home.
The BBC’s Time for School series is a child-friendly documentary series following Reception children at two primary schools. It would be particularly valuable to watch it together with your child, to give you both an insight into school life. The third series starts on CBeebies from Monday 12th August 2019, weekdays at 17:30, and some episodes from previous series are available on YouTube
Miss Mills is one of the teachers featured in the first two series of Time for School and in this video she shares her preparing for Reception tips, including advice on breakfast and lunches, attending induction sessions, independence, making friends, reading to your child, counting, and speaking and listening. While she suggests practising writing numbers and letters, it is much more important that your child develops good pencil control skills, through activities like drawing, tracing or colouring. Encourage your child to hold the pencil correctly.
Although it’s useful if your child can write the first letter of their name, there is no need for your child to learn to write or recognise letters or numbers before starting school. If your child is keen to learn to write, it’s worth encouraging your child to write in well-formed print, or teach them the pre-cursive formation taught at St. Thomas’ (start at the red dot and follow the arrows). When writing their name, the first letter should be a capital letter with the rest of the name lower-case.
Here are some tips for starting school from a parent and former kindergarten teacher.
Developing Personal, Social and Emotional skills
The ‘Let’s Explore’ blog has a five-part series on fun and easy ways to help your child improve emotional vocabulary, build feelings of competence, listen and follow directions, etc.
Developing Communication and Language Skills
Talk about school with your kids: questions to ask (Hands On As We Grow)
If your child doesn’t respond well to direct questions such as these, try talking to them about your own day; what you did, who you saw, what you ate – this might encourage your child to open up about similar aspects of their own day.
Developing Literacy Skills
Developing early reading and writing skills (on the archived Direct.gov site)
Hear how to say the pure letter sounds – it’s crucial to keep the sounds short and clipped, without adding too much ‘uh’. Scroll down to ‘Phonics audio guide: how to say the sounds’.
Developing reading comprehension (Let’s Explore)
Developing Numeracy Skills
Developing Maths and Number skills (on the archived Direct.gov site)
About threadworms (NHS)
About head lice (NHS)
The importance of sleep (BBC)
Links last checked: August 2019