How to get ready for reception class at a competitive Kensington prep(16 Posts)
My daughter starts reception at a competitive girls prep this year that is known to have pushy parents. We come from the states, new to the UK schooling system and this is our first child. I know only too well this neighbourhood has a lot of competitive parenting going on.
Can other parents in the kensington, chelsea please offer some advice on what learning activities we should be doing before September to prepare her for school? She is not at particularly pushy kindergarten. I think it would boost her confidence if she starts school just as able as her peers.
We are from the States as well. All my children did reception (preschool, pre-k, kindergarten) abroad at an international school. I have friends in the States that are reception teachers. The key skills at this age - I think and they concur - is social learning skills. They will learn to sit, pay attention, follow directions, share, work with others, etc. They will learn to write. I guess this is something you can work on. Even drawing is a skill to learn and schools use to evaluate children. Schools we have applied to in the States ask children to draw a self-portrait. The more details a child draws like fingers versus a stick arm, the more points the child gets. Child may start to read at this time. In many European countries, including the one we live in formal learning such as reading and math did not start till 1st grade. It was taught at our school before that but not emphasized like in grade school.
If you are still in the States, buy some summer review packets. One that our school requires is Summer Skills - summerskills.com; I think you can order digital copies now as well. What I like about these is that it offers 35 lesson worksheets. You they take about 10 min and if you do it 3x a week, your child will review lots of grade level skills / knowledge.
Read to her, cook with her, sing lots of little songs with her, talk to her about anything and everything. Encourage her natural curiosity. Let her play with Lego, and similar toys to help develop find motor skills, and encourage creativity. Let her draw, paint, play with play dough or silly putty.
Make sure she knows when she needs to say please, thank you, excuse me, good morning and good afternoon. Make sure she knows how to listen to instructions, share and take turns. She should also be able to dress herself, put on coat, gloves etc independently and use the bathroom without prompting or assistance.
At this age, courtesy, social skills and independence count for more than worksheets.
I'd teach her to read (using phonics). Look up what scheme the school uses as it's easy to go wrong and make reading harder for her.
Agree with Kippersyllabub's last statement.
Even dressing themselves. A four year old may need help the first few months but by December they should be pretty independent.
Hampton - if you got a place at a competitive prep for her, she's probably well able to cope with reception regardless of prep. My daughter went to a similar London prep from a not very pushy nursery and at our first parents' evening the reception teacher said she had been behind but had caught up fine (hadn't had all the letters down when she started, for example), as well as letting us know we needed to help her more on writing her numbers as she was slower than the rest of the class at that and it was slowing her down given her mental numerical skills were fine. By Feb half term she'd more than caught up.
I agree with others, no need to worry, get her ready for being more independent eg putting her coat on, choosing what she wants to eat, taking her turn etc., and she will be fine.
Using cutlery to eat school dinners would also be a useful skill, as well as being able to dress/undress herself (especially in PE kit and trainers - and winter tights!) enjoying reading and singing songs/rhymes, lots of outings to museums and galleries to encourage her natural curiosity. Have lots of fun together when you can - she will never have this much time with you ever again in her life!!
*Make sure she knows when she needs to say please, thank you, excuse me, good morning and good afternoon.
Very important .I am a former KP teacher now working abroad in an American school.There is a complete lack of the British standard of grace, courtesy and manners in the the majority of children (and staff).
Hi Hamptons99. My daughter will be at Ken prep in sept as well, do you know in which class she will be? I am a bit worried to, she comes from a normal non competitive daycare and have heard so much things. She will be one of the youngest (born mid July). Happy to discuss via PM
I would say, make sure she can write her name, starts some phonics, do lots of reading together. I'm American, but had my kids here. My daughter is in nursery now and they have already taught her to write her name and it's a long name! Plus she can sound out a read some simple words. They do phonics. I'm not competitive at all. She has learned all this at school. I should probably do more of the homework they send home with her and help practice more. Instead I take my kids to the park for a couple hours a day or do swim etc. I'm surprised they start so young. The schools my daughter is at is not competitive at all. It's in the same area as your daughters school. But it is a faith school, not private. Parents do not seem competitive or pushy at all. But I've heard in the private schools in the area that they can be very competitive. I am sure next year I will have to make more of an effort with my daughter. Good luck!
Hi Lolakath19, Hamptons99
My daughter is starting reception at Ken prep in September as well 😀 She will be in class C. Which class your daughter is going to be in?
Reception C as well is she excited? mine can't wait
Are you living near the school? is she going to a nursery?
OP are you talking about KP? If so it is not generally regarded as the epi-centre of West London pushiness and is reasonably large. There will be lots of scope to identify parents with attitudes that match your own.
We are at the end of the process in the DD is about to leave school, but I would:
1. Remember that this is a very long term game. Your child will probably be in education for another 20 years. And from my observation tortoises do catch up with hares on a regular basis.
2. If you are still in London for secondary, London has a lot of very good private schools, plus an academic child, or one aiming for US colleges, can always swap for sixth form. Do not be taken in by an orthodoxy that has only one or two schools as acceptable. Much better to be in the top rather than the bottom third at secondary, and much better not to be in a culture where children and parents think it is normal to comment on how bright (or not) individual children are.
3. Look for out of school activities which have a more diverse participation. Soccer? (BedHead FC is recommended!) Dance? London Youth Circus? Avoid, if you can individual sports which have small children training for hours simply to ensure they tick a box on their Harvard application. If school proves tough it is good to have an antidote, and a different group of friends. Plus in a compettive world it is good for a child to have something they are "good" at be it art, music or simply being a good friend.
4. Remember that life is not just about academic results. Emotional intelligence is so important. Resilience, engagement, not "me first", empathy, the ability to amuse yourself, self-motivation. You will find that some of the most competitve children are not very nice to be around.
5. Be a bit careful about how you talk about England. We had a problem when DD was about 12. Clearly some ex-pats find aspects of living in the UK frustrating. They also perhaps failed to understand that British kids appeared to do less well at 11+ partly because they were not being tutored, and partly because UK parents were less bothered about school status and class placement. (It is not important for University entry here.) DD got quite upset about the constant criticism about everything in the UK: our inability to clear snow; the quality of our plumbers etc etc, which kids had clearly picked up from their parents, plus the assumption that if you were British and not at the "right" school, you could not be bright. And being bright was all important.
Its fine. Now when faced with that sort of behaviour DD simply rolls her eyes and avoids. On balance its not been a bad thing. Early exposure to the products of some seriously competitive parenting has enabled her to develop coping strategies, plus it is some of the sky high apirations have rubbed off a bit on both DC. And to be honest, I don't think the very directed kids have done especially well. Yes plenty are headed off to Ivies, which presumably is one measure of success, but the real stars of the peer group are the ones who have self-direction as well as talent. And there have been a couple of spectacular, and indeed very sad, car crashes.
London is a fun place to live. But more fun is you are relaxed and tolerant and decide as a family to enjoy the experience.
That is great 😀. We should meet up with the girls. We live 5min walking distance from Ken prep.
We went for a uniform fit the other day and she was very excited.
She can't wait to start. She goes to The Roche nursery.
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