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Transition to nursery, reception and year 1 - thoughts?

(15 Posts)
BeQuicksieorBeDead Wed 12-Mar-14 16:40:22

Hello Mumsnetters,

I am in the lucky position of having the opportunity to have some influence over how my school handle the transition from nurseries and childminders, to F1 and f2, then into our Year 1.

Would you lot be kind enough to tell me frankly, what in your experience has helped the process for you and your children, and what has been a right old pain in the arse? What do you wish someone had told you before transition? What sort of meetings would you have appreciated, if any, and what kind of visits to the setting would have helped your child?

My little one is only four months so I haven't gone through the process from the parent and child perspective, only the teacher one. And I realise we don't always get it right. All your comments gratefully appreciated and it will help me so thank you!

ReallyTired Wed 12-Mar-14 18:43:17

Our school had some stay and play sessions in the holidays so that new nursery children could meet and make friends before term started. It was organised by the local children's centre which was on the same site as the school.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Wed 12-Mar-14 19:18:03

reallytired thank you so much for your feedback, were the sessions helpful? Sounds like a nice informal way to meet the staff and some of the children.

ReallyTired Wed 12-Mar-14 20:17:28

I think the sessions definately helped as it meant that my daughter knew some of the chidlren on her first day of nursery. It is easier for a small child to cope with parental seperation if they actually know some of the chidlren there.

The stay and play sessions were not run by the school nursery staff because they were on holiday. The sessions were run by the children's centre staff. We had six sessions every monday afternoon during the school holiday. Understandably the school staff want their holiday so weren't available.

We also had a home visit from one of the school's nursery team. The visit was so fast I am not sure quite what they hoped to achieve. (Other than to peep at our house)

I would like some way for staff to identify special needs before a child starts nursery. For example if a child is struggling with toilet training then prehaps its better to organise some help from the children's centre in June rather than have the child turn up in nappies in September. Prehaps if there was a stay and play session in the summer term then that would give the opportunity for staff to see the children and make an appointment to see a parent in private where they had concerns. The problem our school has is that it has morning and afternoon nursery so this might not be practical.

Littlefish Wed 12-Mar-14 20:41:37

As a nursery, we run stay and play sessions for anyone who expressed an interest in starting nursery at some point. We hold them about 5 times a term, in the nursery. The current nursery children go to the Children's Centre next door for an hour.

We have between 15 and 25 families with children aged between 1 and 3. They have the chance to play in nursery, chat to nursery staff, meet other children, ask lots of questions etc. This means that by the time the children start nursery, they are usually very confident about coming to nursery, know the people and therefore, settle much more quickly.

This year, our Reception teachers will be doing home visits for those children who have not attended our on-site nursery. Those children in the onsite nursery spend quite a lot of time already with our Reception children, particularly in our outside area. In addition, in the summer term, the 2 reception teachers swap with me (Nursery teacher), so that they each spend time with the Nursery children.

Like ReallyTired, our Children's centre also organises a couple of transition stay and play sessions over the summer holidays. These were really well received last year, albeit by a small number of families.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Wed 12-Mar-14 20:47:44

Thank you Littlefish and Reallytired. Some good ideas...I have found home visits to be a bit of a waste of time, as they are always rushed and generally just involve forms being handed over. You are right about time to talk about specific needs, often we dont know what support children will require until they arrive, which is hard for everyone. Perhaps a meeting opportunity with the teacher whilst the children stay and play would be useful?

maillotjaune Wed 12-Mar-14 20:56:35

I didn't have home visits with the older two - nursery now does bit DS3 had D&V so it was cancelled. I can kind if see the point of it for families not known to the school, but tbh as DS1 was in Y5 and I knew the nursery teacher (did cover in DS2's Y2 class) it seemed a bit pointless.

Meet the teacher at school while children play at nursery would have been perfect.

We did have stay and play at the Children's Centre next door. DS3 loved those three x 1 hour sessions but then he started nursery proper and cried for 4 weeks grin

WooWooOwl Wed 12-Mar-14 22:09:47

I'm a parent, have worked in a pre school, reception and Y1.

Stay and play sessions help a lot IME, often they help the parents more than the children though, but I see that as a good thing. The less anxious parents are and the more familiar they are the better because it rubs off on the children. Parents have the opportunity to talk to the teacher at these sessions but only have limited opportunity to talk to the TAs, and I think more TA/parent time would be beneficial to talk about all the little things that parents worry about that aren't directly related to education. TAs have the time to make a difference to things like toileting, dressing, social things, where teachers are often very busy with the academic side of things, and they aren't the ones that will be dealing with those things the most anyway.

I think pre schools, nurseries and parents often need to do more to help children to organise themselves and their belongings before starting schools, and this is the biggest thing I recommend when others ask me what they should do to get their children ready for school.

It really makes a difference to children at the beginning and end of the day, and at PE when there is a lot of hustle and bustle if the children are used to putting things in their own bags and identifying their own things.

At my school we do visits to the nursery settings rather than home visits, and I think that helps children get excited about school and feel better about moving on while they are still at nursery. Plus it means we get a chance to discuss the child with the people who work with the children and are likely to have a different perspective to the parents.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Wed 12-Mar-14 23:28:18

This is really helping, thank you all.

Do you think big meetings for parents help? I was thinking about doing a transition evening meeting, but am aware it can be hard for parents to attend.

BackforGood Wed 12-Mar-14 23:45:33

The best thing you can do IME, is to go out to the Nurseries / Pre-schools / Daycare / Playgroups when the staff there have contacted you and said 'X, who is coming to your school, has additional needs - would you like to come in and see him/her in Nursery and talk to the staff about what he/she is good at, what he/she struggles with, what we have found helps, what we have found makes him/her really anxious?'

Then work out a transition plan for that individual.

Photo books for the child to look at over the 6 week break, with pictures of the F1 staff, where they go into the building, where they hang their coats, where they might sit or play, the toilets, the dinner hall, etc.,etc.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Thu 13-Mar-14 00:00:06

I know you want parental input, but as a YR teacher, there are a couple of things I find help enormously.
We run a 1 hour session in the afternoon one day every week which is open to the current YR parents/carers/younger siblings. Next year's intake is also welcome. By the summer term, most of my next year's class are attending. It means I get to know them and their parents, and they are already familiar with me, the classroom, the loos, sitting for a story etc.
Re: communication. Because we have so many siblings, I find I sometimes forget what a strange place school and all its unspoken rules must be for first time parents. So I make sure I write letters explaining the absolute basics rather than making assumptions.

BackforGood Thu 13-Mar-14 00:09:14

If a considerable number of your children move up from one or two local playgroups / Nurseries, it's much easier for you to build relationships with the staff there.
Some of my Nurseries get invited to bring their "pre-school groups" into the school to watch little Christmas concerts, or to have a play in the rooms or the outside area, or for Easter bonnet parades, etc.... so they are still with their familiar Nursery staff, but "on a trip" to the local school building.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Thu 13-Mar-14 00:53:51

More great ideas, thank you, this is giving me a real insight. I am very happy to have a teacher's perspective too Halfspam.... Thanks.

Menolly Thu 13-Mar-14 09:33:43

DD is in form 2 (her school's equivalent of reception)

They do a meeting each year about what they expect from us and the children at that stage and what we should expect of the school which was helpful but I could have done with a written list as well as I've forgotten half the things they said.

They also spend a day in the summer term in their new classrooms throughout the school, so the new children go in form 1, form 1 go to form 2 etc (and 6th year get a day off) and they do a typical day/amount of work for that year group, but with the topic being 'about me 'so the teacher can learn a bit about them.

New children are sent a questionnaire for their parents to fill in which gives a chance to list any needs the child has and a space for things they like or are interested in so the teachers have some conversation starters if they need them.

I hate the idea of home visits.

Clutterbugsmum Thu 13-Mar-14 10:40:05

My childrens school, do a lot of transition time between nursery and reception (in fact all years) where nursery children go into the reception class rooms so they know both teachers and classrooms before they start.

In July they have a meeting for parents to meet teachers and have talk about the curriculum. You are also given a date for a home visit, if you haven't had one and the start date for September.

They start 10 children a day and the children go all day from day one.

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