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Help ME deal with my DS starting Year 1 - with only previous nursery experience (No Reception)

(12 Posts)
MrsPeeWee Thu 25-Jul-13 12:18:24

Hi all.

Well, it has officially got to the point where I am struggling to even sleep at night with worry. My DS is 5.5 years old. We move back to England from Scotland next week. DS has only ever had a half-day Nursery School experience. In Scotland they don't have a reception class. - DS will be starting YR 1 in Sept. I am so worried. I am trying to explain how his school days will be from Sept. He seems to understand and accept it. We recently took him for a look around his new school and he seemed very happy. I asked for a phased start, the deputy head refused, unfortunately, saying she believes it will do him more harm than good. His new teacher and the teaching assistant are both wonderful, I feel incredibly happy for her to be my DS's teacher.

I just can't shake my worry. He has never been in school for a full day, he has never experienced sitting at a desk and doing work, he can't read, he has never experienced sitting and eating lunch at a school. All of this and around completely new children he has never met before. They use a buddy system, where they place all the children in to pairs on the first day, so DS will have no choice other than to get to know him/her (which I am happy about) - The school is very military (not all children are military children, but most are, including DS.) So I know DS won't be the only new child in the class.

Can any of you shed a little light on this for me please? Has anyone else's DC gone straight from Nursery in to YR1 and has been absolutely fine? Can anyone help ease my anxiety over this? I am careful not to let DS pick up on this anxiety, it all seems to come flooding in at night.

Absolutely any advice welcome. Thank you.

Periwinkle007 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:52:46

well that sounds good he won't be the only new one in the class and if the school is used to people moving around then I am sure they will do a good job of settling him in and getting him to catch up.

I think they are right about just going straight for the full days. A phased start would probably confuse everything and if he has missed out on a year already then it is better he is there all the time so they can give him the extra help he will need to start off with.

Assuming he knows some phonics then the chances are there will be some children who have done a whole year of reception who will be at the same stage as him. some finish reception reading well, most finish reception reading quite well but there are plenty who still haven't got it at this stage so he may not be as behind as you are thinking.

Sitting at desks and doing work all day - don't panic, they don't do that in reception so it is a culture shock to all the children when they start doing it in Yr1. Some schools phase it in over the first half term, some seem to just do it from day 1. He may find it easier to adapt as he won't know any different whereas they may be expecting the same as reception.

HE will be fine and is probably more than ready for school, YOU are the one who will be worrying and that is perfectly normal.

As you are moving areas I would try to meet some local families before term starts, ask around the families you meet at the park and see who has children at that school. they may be in different classes but it doesn't matter, they will be friendly faces in the playground.

With lunches - if he has a packed lunch try to make it as familiar to what he has at home as possible initially so it is comfortable for him.

he WILL be fine

Periwinkle007 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:55:27

oh and over the holiday try and make him confident with recognising his name and writing it if possible. If you can get him to practice writing the different letters that will help (we have a little white board with the letters on it with dotted lines and arrows so they can just go over them and form them the right way). Practice number recognition and counting up to 20 and practice his phonics. that will give him a good base to build on

MrsPnut Thu 25-Jul-13 13:07:12

Our local primary school is predominantly military families and the school are very used to children arriving and leaving during the year including children who have been overseas or who have never attended school before.

Are you moving onto the patch? because if so there will be loads of people around to give you information before school starts and the ideas above about name recognition are good ones.
I'd also advise getting him to practice getting dressed and undressed, including putting his clothes in a safe pile and to put on coats and shoes.

Getting him going to the toilet on his own is another good thing to practice.

MrsPeeWee Thu 25-Jul-13 13:07:45

He can recognise numbers up to 10 - He can write his name, and recognises his name without a problem. He can also recognise a few other words if we show him, like 'Mum, Dad, Cat' etc - He can also count to 20.

Thank you, ever so much for your advice. It really has helped make me feel a little better. Also, I know this is more me. He will probably breeze on in there and I will wonder what on earth I was worrying about (touch wood) - Thank you again.

Periwinkle007 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:08:45

the other useful thing is to show him where you are putting the nametapes in his uniform and try to be consistent with where they are, this will mean he knows where to look for them to check items are his.

Periwinkle007 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:10:42

well he will probably fit in very nicely with a group of children coming up from reception then if he can do those things and he will no doubt pick it all up quickly.

All parents are the same when their child starts school, I had one start last year and one start this year. it is perfectly natural and you have added in moving house, area and him missing a year so of course you will have worries but yes in a few months time you will be wondering why you were worried.

MrsPeeWee Thu 25-Jul-13 13:24:46

Thank you. Your messages have really helped.

I have made him as aware as I possibly can about how his school day will be. I have told him he won't be playing in the sandpits and playing with toys all the time he is there anymore because he's a big boy now, which he looked quite proud of. I have made him aware that he will be sitting at his table like a big boy and doing his work. He seemed absolutely fine with the prospect.

Thank you for your tips, too. I will definitely make sure he is fully able to unbutton polo t-shirts and show him where all of his name tags are, and also show him to put his things in to his bag once done with PE, etc.

Thank you!

WelliesandPyjamas Thu 25-Jul-13 13:27:51

It'll be fine. At his age, he will be able and happy to adjust and copy his peers.

My DS1 started school in the UK part way through Yr 1 after living abroad in a country where there is no school before age 7. All we'd been able to give him was half days at kindergarten and teaching him anything he was keen to learn at home (which wasn't always as much as we would have liked, he was more interested in raising chickens and goats!). He settled in nicely, made friends quickly, and caught up as much as he could with school work. There have been times when I have been tempted to blame that late start for his slower progress but what is done is done and in actual fact within a couple of years he was in the top sets in class (all changed again after we moved schools though grin).

My advice: stop fretting, the less he sees you worry, the happier he will be. Also don't ever let on to him about how it may potentially be a reason for a slow start, he'd only use it as an excuse grin.

MrsPeeWee Thu 25-Jul-13 13:42:05

:D Thank you for your message Wellies you have put my mind at ease a lot.

Ferguson Mon 29-Jul-13 23:52:40

Hi - retired male TA here -

Yes, I would agree with the other replies, there really isn't much to worry about!

I worked in primary schools in various capacities for over twenty years, and although children may come in to school with a variety of pre-school experience, or non at all, or come into Yr1 or even Yr2 having had virtually no previous formal learning, they do all make adequate progress in the end, though some will take longer than others.

A major factor is the amount of support and parental involvement a child receives at home; unfortunately some parents think it is ONLY school's job to educate a child, and they play no part even in supporting reading at home, but these families are a small minority, and would not be MN members!

Many Yr1 classes do not spend VERY much time at tables, or desks! A lot of the time children will probably be on the carpet, in the hall, in the computer suite, in the playground, the garden, the art & craft area, or whatever. Obviously, the larger the school the more areas and facilities there will be for different activities.

Very likely children will sometimes be encouraged to work in small, independent groups, or discuss ideas and maybe 'feed back' to the rest of the class. Confidence and ability to talk, share and take turns is therefore a valuable skill. Also confidence to 'have a go' at sports, games, PE, music, drama etc, is useful.

Perhaps I would advise you not to be TOO specific in telling him what to expect, just in case he perceives things not to be what you promised him they would be, and feels you misled or 'tricked' him. Security and confidence are very important, particularly in the first days and weeks of being in a new environment.

[In a day or two I will try to 'message' you with some excellent 'links' that you can look at together during the holiday, and some information to help start you both on the Literacy & Numeracy road. There is, of course, plenty of informal 'education' on BBC TV and other children's channels]

Notrightnowww Tue 30-Jul-13 07:53:01

I really think he'll be fine.

Lots of the things you mention as worries - sitting at a deskall day, eating packed lunches, etc., would be new to him if he was about to start P1 in Scotland, and lots of P1 start from half day nursery only and are fine!

Having done the move the other way round, the gap I can see is in reading/phonics, as there is hardly any of this in Scottish nursery curriculum. I would try and make some games about learning letters and maybe sounds, look at jolly phonics on YouTube?

Remember he'd be facing a big transition anyway, even without a move - it's just that point in his life. At 5.5 I'm sure he'll be ready and really enjoy it, so try to relax!

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