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Starting School

Thursday 16 April 2020

Starting school can be an exciting, yet daunting and sometimes emotional experience for both children and parents. Parents spend many hours considering which school is best suited to their child. The deciding factors might include the quality of the educational provision, the pastoral care, facilities and location.

At St Joseph’s College, we love spending time with families as they carefully consider their child’s educational future. Our Admissions team would love to show you around our Brilliant Prep School, and we can do so remotely with some of our children acting as tour guides.  To be sent our new virtual tour video please visit here. 

With the new school year fast approaching Mrs Dhanak, Head of Early Years Foundation Stage and Infants has put together some ‘top tips’ to help you prepare for the important milestone of the Reception year.  

  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes. Share lots of stories. Starting school books, such as ‘Come to school too, Blue Kangaroo!’ are a great idea in the weeks before school begins. 
  • Find opportunities for counting and recognising numbers. Count the stairs when you go up and down. Talk about the numbers that you can see on the doors in your street. 
  • Encourage your child to take an interest in the world around them. Plant seeds in your garden. Talk about the birds and flowers that you see whilst out for a walk.
  • Spend plenty of time engaging in conversations. Listen to your child, ask questions and answer theirs.  
  • Play games together. These may be turn taking games, such as ‘Snap!’ Children also love role play. Set up a shop using tins and packets of food. Play Doctors and Nurses. Dolls or teddies make the perfect patients!   
  • Help your child to develop their fine motor skills by drawing, chalking or threading beads onto a string.
  • Talk about letters and the sounds that letters make. For example Mmmm for Mummy.  
  • Help your child to practise recognising their name. If they are ready, practise writing their name using lower case letters not capital letters. For example Oscar not OSCAR.
  • Encourage your child to be independent. This will help them to feel happy and confident at school. Help them to learn to dress and undress, and put their own shoes and socks on. This will make it much easier for them when it is time to change for P.E lessons. Help your child to learn to use the toilet independently.  
  • Create excitement by choosing new school shoes together and trying on their new school uniform. Remember to tell your child how smart they look.
  • Name everything! Then your child will be able to easily identify their belongings. 

In September when school begins remember that….

  • Children find the daily routines of school very tiring, especially in the first few months whilst adjusting to full time schooling.  
  • Like us, children have different strengths and things that they find more difficult. Children progress at different rates and can sometimes be almost a year apart in age. Try not to compare your child to other children. We are here to support and encourage your child as they learn and develop at school.
  • Be positive and try not to cry or get upset, even if you feel like it, because this will upset your child. Tell your child that they are going to have lots of fun. However tempting it is, do not linger. Put on a brave face and say a quick goodbye with a cheery smile. If your child is upset we will comfort and reassure them. 
  • To avoid the classic ‘nothing’ or ‘I don’t know’ response when asking your child how was your day at school? Ask them what their favourite part of the day was, or what they enjoyed the most.

The Early Years Foundation Stage is the statutory curriculum for the Reception year. You will be able to share, and be part of your child’s learning journey by looking at and contributing to their online learning journal ‘Tapestry’. We operate an open door policy, so you will see your child’s teacher every day at school when you drop them off and pick them up. You will have the opportunity to attend a Parents Meeting appointment each term. You will also receive a termly report detailing your child’s learning and development. Each week your child’s teacher will give suggestions of ways in which you can support your child’s learning and development at home. 

If you are looking for entry in September 2020, please do not worry! Our Admissions team is happy to discuss your child’s needs and answer your questions.

And for those who decide to join our warm St Jo’s community, we very much look forward to sharing your child’s learning journey when they enter the Reception class at St Joseph’s College.