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Independent school taster session

(19 Posts)
mummasaurus Tue 23-Oct-18 18:50:13

We have applied to the local independent school for DD who is due to start reception in September 2019. We have received a letter from the school inviting us to a taster session, approx an hour, during which DD will be with the head of early years and we will be with the registrar. Just wanted to see if anyone had a similar experience with an independent school, and how I can best prepare DD on what to expect?

ShalomJackie Tue 23-Oct-18 19:22:03

At that age they usually let them play with something and chat generally to them. I would just tell her she is looking to see if she likes it rather than them her.

trinity0097 Tue 23-Oct-18 19:48:38

They will be looking to see if she is fairly normal for her age, and doesn’t show any concerning traits. Encourage her to join in with whatever they are doing.

GU24Mum Tue 23-Oct-18 21:37:19

When is the taster session? If it's some time between now and early February, it's probably an assessment of sorts; if it's later in the school year, it's probably more of a general chance for them to meet your daughter (and check whether she has any obvious special needs they'll need to cater for) and her to get used to the setting.

Racecardriver Tue 23-Oct-18 21:40:18

I think all independent schools do this, they do around where we live. It’s mostly just to make sure that children have a bit of familiarity with the school, teachers etc before they start. Don’t worry too much. The taster sessions often don’t go that well. So long as she doesn’t burn down the building they won’t be to concerned if it doesn’t go that well. It’s more her benefit just to get her used to the school before she goes in for her first day.

mummasaurus Tue 23-Oct-18 22:11:32

The taster session is in November. In the invitation letter it states 'the outcome of this informal taster session will determine whether we are in a position to offer a place to your child' - so it gives me the impression they are looking for something specific!

VioletFlamingo Tue 23-Oct-18 23:01:01

As PP said it will just be looking at behaviour (does she listen a reasonable amount you can expect a 3 year old to, does she join in without too much coaxing or problem), basic developmental tasks (e.g. starting to identify her name, which is the longest straw, can you throw this ball in a bucket) and to check for any obvious potential needs which they can't cater for.

Is the school a popular one? Do you know if the current reception is full?

mummasaurus Wed 24-Oct-18 09:11:09

It's a very popular school, always full. It is very highly regarded. I'm a little nervous from the line about how the taster session will determine if they are in a position to offer a place, maybe I've read into it too much though and assumed a tone that isn't actually there!

Blarneybear Wed 24-Oct-18 09:12:30

Teach her to draw a detailed picture of a person! With eye lashes!

WerewolfNumber1 Wed 24-Oct-18 09:24:29

It’s an assessment. Presumably they told you at open day that they are selective?

The contents of those assessments vary a lot, and tbh there’s w huge element of luck - does your child feel chatty that day, do they happen to be interested in the suggested activity etc.

Some schools do it as a play session with a few children and the parents staying, some do it as a one on one assessment and don’t let the parents in. There should be some info in their prospectus about what to expect.

janinlondon Wed 24-Oct-18 11:08:23

Common tests: Four children in a group, three toys. (how do they deal with this). Draw mummy or daddy. (Do the figures have arms hands and fingers/legs and feet?) Draw your house. (Is there a roof/door/windows). What colour is your front door/car? Please draw a picture of it and colour it in (is it the colour they told you it was?). Can you sing a song or tell us a rhyme? Can you find your name on one of these cards? Can you colour in this picture of a tree sky grass flower. (How close are the colours chosen to anything real and has an atempt been made to colour in inside the lines?). Everybody line up. (You have NO idea how badly wrong that can go). And some sort of dexterity/balance test, like can you skip around the circle. Hope this helps.

janinlondon Wed 24-Oct-18 11:09:38

Oh - and something numerical. Take two red blocks type of thing.

GU24Mum Wed 24-Oct-18 11:22:11

If you're happy to say which school it is, someone here is bound to have some experience. Mine did assessments but it depends a bit on the school what they are looking for and how formal they are.

pretendingtowork1 Thu 25-Oct-18 17:04:21

What school is it? These can vary from just wanting to exclude an SEN that they can't cope with to 10+ applicants for every place.

QuaterMiss Thu 25-Oct-18 17:08:40 Just be prepared for all possible outcomes!

FredFlinstoneMadeOfBones Thu 25-Oct-18 17:27:27

Like others it depends on how competitive the school is. If we're talking about a massively over subscribed London Prep they might be looking very carefully at fine motor skills, social skills, vocab and communication skills. Other prep schools will probably just be either avoiding any children with extreme behavioural issues or if they're mildly competitive looking for easier children. Children who can sit still, play well with others, follow instructions. (Depending on the school and whether they take age into account this can massively favour the winter borns who are naturally more mature).

Sammysquiz Fri 26-Oct-18 08:23:13

My DD had one of these. She baked and iced biscuits with a few other children and had a whale of a time (and has continued to absolutely love the school)! I think there was some subtle testing going on, things like can you read the number on the scales when weighing ingredients etc.

ChocolateWombat Fri 26-Oct-18 22:20:03

It is definitely an assessment, but quite what this means varies between schools.

Some schools are not significantly over-subscribed. They will just be looking to see your DD behaves in an age appropriate way....that she isn't overly aggressive and is fairly biddable. It is just a chance for them to spot anyone who is likely to be significantly hard work to be honest.

Other schools which are highly selective will be looking for biddable children, but also those who are mature - can sit still and listen, join in and take turns, who have got some basic skills such as describing pictures with a good voculary, using numbers, perhaps scissors, some drawing skills.....they are looking for those who seem to be able and also very teachable, rather than difficult.

Some parents believe it or not choose their nurseries or even 'play tutors' because they will prep their little girls for this kind of assessment and familiarise them with the skills and behaviours schools a re looking for. Are you feeling worried because you are concerned that your DD might not perform well, or worried that you haven't prepared her when others might have prepared their DDs, or just about the concept of little children being assessed?

It's pretty close now, so I'd just go ahead with it. The list of possible activities a PP mentioned is a good one to consider. You can do a little low level work with your DD, but the fact you haven't spent months on it isn't something to worry about. Just trust in your DD and that if this is the right school she will get a place....there is nothing you can really do anyway at this stage, and unless it's highly selective and very competitive, your DD will probably charm them and be offered a place.

Check she can do the following things;
- give her name as both first name and surname
- say how old she is and where she lives and say a few things about toys or acitivities she enjoys.
- describe a picture
- say something about a story she has enjoyed
- ideally sit and listen and wait her turn
- draw a picture of a person with features such as separate body and head or a house
- recognise some numbers and count a small number of items fairly accurately.

Practising some of these things in a very low key way isn't a bad idea, or asking her to do them and particularly if she doesn't understand what is being asked, you then showing her/doing it can help......because sometimes children are perfectly able to do all the things I mention, but do t demonstrate them just because they aren't familiar with what those activities/tasks might be called or how someone might ask them to do it. But really, once or twice is fine for this.....don't go overboard.

If she can't do some of these things at the moment, don't worry and try not to give any sense that she's going to a test of sorts. Just encourage her to be friendly and to listen and join in. She can only be who she is...and that's just fine!

mishgs Sat 27-Oct-18 22:45:50

Honestly, I've been quite blown away by this thread..... I teach in a state Nursery school and we open our doors and welcome all that come through them. The idea of deciding who is and who isn't good enough at the age of 3 or 4 is something that doesn't quite sit right with me. Thank goodness they won't fully understand if they're deemed a 'failure' at such a tender age.

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