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Top tips for starting school in September?

(57 Posts)
suddenlycupishalffull Sun 03-May-15 08:29:23

DD1 will be one of the youngest in her year - she'll have just turned 4 when she starts Reception in September. She already goes to the Nursery attached to the school a few days a week, but it's still a big deal for both of us (sob!). I'm completely green when it comes to school (I've only just heard of phonics...) so what would your top tips be for a complete newbie in September? Does she need a penci case? A big bag? How do I help her cope with the inevitable tiredness? Do they get homework? Do they get free school meals? Those who have gone through this before, if you wished you knew one thing before the start of that first year, what would it be?

EatDessertFirst Sun 03-May-15 08:38:19

Make sure she can change into her out of her PE kit and back again and be pretty confident taking herself to the toilet. She shouldn't need a pencil case and will be entitled to free school meals.

Reception is play-based and in my experience more about learning school routines and behaviour expectations than academics.

Make sure she has plenty of rest after school. Take a snack to pick up. The only homework they should get is reading.

Patatas Sun 03-May-15 08:43:28

My ds starts in September too, nerve wracking isn't it?

I have been told to practice getting changed by himself, doing up coat, shoes etc. Also to practice carrying a tray with food on, ready for lunchtime.

VolumniaDedlock Sun 03-May-15 08:46:57

one of the keys things about getting changed after PE is that they're faced with clothes that are upside down and inside out. I\d always laid out dd1's clothes for her, so she wasn't used to (eg) turning tights back the right way.

it's handy if they can recognise their name (not read it) as there's 30 of everything, and it helps save on stuff getting muddled up.

MrsPnut Sun 03-May-15 08:47:05

YY to practicing getting changed, including turning clothes the right way round and folding them in a pile. Putting coat and shoes on by herself and recognising her name so she knows what items are hers.

When you go to the school for the new parent meeting they will probably discuss all of this with you.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 03-May-15 08:47:44

The check list I was given by a friend who has taught reception for years was
Put own shoes and coat
Change for PE
Wipe own bottom
Sit quietly when asked to
Play nicely
Be able to take turns
Her correct advice was if most of these things are in place the teacher can do the phonics etc.

Heels99 Sun 03-May-15 08:48:03

Putting own PE kit on and off
Putting shoes on and off
Taking turns
Using cutlery
Putting hand up when wants to speak
Listening
Following instructions
Tidying up after self
Saying please and thank you
Own coat on and off
Sitting nicely without fiddling about there is lots of emphasis on 'super sitting'

TooBusyByHalf Sun 03-May-15 08:54:02

Shoes, coat, toilet, as pp have said. Unlikely to change for PE in reception - wastes too much time. She won't need any stuff (pencils etc). The school will probably want you to buy a 'book bag' which they will sell - a reader will come home each week for you to read at home. No other homework.
Your DD will probably be completely knackered at the end of the day and will need a snack when you pick up to be able to walk home. Cut any extra activities for any least a term if not a year. Earlier bedtime until she is used to it.
Don't panic if your DD is 'behind' - there is a big difference between just 4 and almost 5 - it may take up to end year 2 to not notice the age difference but it will fade.
If you ask what she did all day the answer should be 'I played'. Only worry if not!

strawberrytablecloth Sun 03-May-15 09:04:05

I echo all of the above.
I'd also point out that shops sell school uniform throughout the year these days. You may not be able to stroll into a local shop in the middle of December and have a choice of pinafores but they will have them online so do stock up for September but you can buy more in the year (it turns out my DD much prefers skirts to pinafores).
Reception will have plenty of younger siblings in it. Their parents will know what to do as they will have done it all before. However, they will also remember how anxious you feel entering the unknown and, IME, are more than happy to answer random questions.

odyssey2001 Sun 03-May-15 09:26:15

Studied have shown that summer born children don't equalise academically until the end of Year 4, so don't panic too much about that (although the school will judge all children based on the year they are in not their age from Year 1 upwards in afraid).

mummytime Sun 03-May-15 09:28:28

It's useful if they can choose food. Take them to a cafe where they have to choose (Debenhams, Sainsburys, Tescos etc. can be good for this).

suddenlycupishalffull Sun 03-May-15 09:29:38

Oh my goodness!! I didn't even think about PE :/ I do lay out her clothes (turned the right way round) for her to then dress herself for school...she can get her tights, vest, coat, shoes on but does really struggle if they are inside out, in fact she just can't manage it...lots of practice over the summer then. Hmmmmmm...I do also still wipe her bottom (she's still only 3...) and I have wondered about this...on her nursery days she seems to wait till she get home though she's fine going for a wee on her own at nursery from what I can tell. So do all school do a new parent meeting then? I was hoping so because I don't even know the teacher etc. She does a few little classes and I did think it would be wise to stop those in reception year as I can imagine her doing 9-3.15 then going on to a sports class at 3.30 :/

mrz Sun 03-May-15 09:31:41

Make sure that she can manage the toilet independently, recognises her own coat and can put it on (may need help fastening it still) and that you don't assume being young means she won't be able to do as much as older children in the class.

ZenNudist Sun 03-May-15 09:43:58

Don't worry too much I know loads of summer born dc whose parents have banged on to me about how great they are getting on in reception as ds1 will be oldest in year they all seem to think we are very unlucky having to wait a whole year in some cases longer!

Especially as she's a girl it seems they pick everything up and do great generally!

Springtimemama Sun 03-May-15 09:44:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chickenpoxpanic Sun 03-May-15 09:51:15

Toileting is the big one as they won't get help with that.

My oldest is an August birthday too. He could put his coat on but couldn't zip it up himself. He could do his shoes though (DON'T send her in buckled/laced shoes!). They have only started getting changed for PE this term.

He started school uninterested in reading, drawing, couldn't even write his name. He's now reading level 5 books and writing a couple of phonetic sentences with an attempt at punctuation. I would let school take care of the academic stuff.

mrz Sun 03-May-15 09:55:57

If the coat has a hood put the hood on first then put arms in that way coat is not upside down or back to front

ConcreteElephant Sun 03-May-15 09:58:26

Reception do change for PE at our school, just into t-shirt and shorts (no trainers till Summer term as they only go to the gym). A school near us doesn't change as YR have joggers for uniform anyway so they are already comfy for PE. On PE days I sent DD in in skirt and long socks as she found that easier than pinafore and tights. PE kit lives at school, comes home at half-/end of term.

At the new parents' evening we were asked to send the children in on the first day with a book bag and a bottle of water - nothing else required.

Things mentioned above like going to the toilet, recognising her name, putting coats and shoes on (we have indoor shoes at school), sitting nicely, putting hands up etc I would completely agree with.

We didn't have any activities for the first two terms (busier this term!) as we weren't sure how tired DD would be. The Head had warned us not to underestimate how tiring it can be. Turns out she was pretty much ok apart from in the last week or so of term/ half term, but we were glad we held off. Having no obligations after school meant we were free to play in the playground after school (good socially for both of us) and also to have friends for tea.

Nursery will be doing a lot this term to ease the transition and you have the advantage of being attached to the school she'll be attending.

SuburbanRhonda Sun 03-May-15 09:59:50

All the advice on here is excellent. I would say the main skill your child would benefit from having is the confidence to ask if they have a worry or can't do something. Reception children come in with all different mixes of skills, but provided your DD is ok about asking for and accepting help, everything will fall into place.

Every year in June our school runs an introduction to school programme for new children coming in in September. It's not for all parents but for those who have expressed concerns about their child being able to manage (SN, disability, lack of confidence, recent family issues, etc). Also for children who have been flagged up by nursery as needing extra support.

You might want to ask if your school runs something similar. Even if it doesn't, all schools normally hold an information evening and give you a pack with all the information you'll need for a smooth start. And don't forget to phone the school with any questions, even after your DD has started. No question is too trivial and it helps us if we realise that parents haven't been given the right information.

SuburbanRhonda Sun 03-May-15 10:01:26

chickenpox, all children in our reception class get help with toileting if they need it! Not sure where you've heard that they don't.

ShadowsShadowsEverywhere Sun 03-May-15 10:04:09

Argh this thread has me really worried. DD is four now, (April birthday) but struggles with a lot of this stuff. She has some sensory issues and nursery think may be slightly on the spectrum but it's not major enough for me to be considering going down the diagnosis route. She's learnt to control meltdowns etc, is getting really good at coping with sensory issues BUT she cannot dress herself, she cannot get tights or leggings back up after going to the loo, she can't wipe her own bottom if she's done a poo, she panics if confronted with lots of choices (chosing dinner). She's going to really struggle isn't she? Both nursery and me have been working on all this for the past yeah and she's just not getting the hang of any of it. She can't even get her shoes done up herself and they are Velcro!

chickenpoxpanic Sun 03-May-15 10:06:31

I've not come across a school where Reception staff will wipe bottoms, unless there are SN/child isn't toilet trained. Even if a child has an accident they are expected to clean themselves up with adult guidance as far as possible.

SuburbanRhonda Sun 03-May-15 10:13:20

That's not what happens in our school, chicken - how many schools have you looked at?

If I were you I would talk to the senco at the new school. We have a child with their own care plan because they have severe delay and are still in nappies. We also have a child who needs medication every two hours. We have care plan for all of that. Even if your DD has no diagnosis if you talk to the school they can work with the nursery to make sure she has a smooth start and is supported in all the areas she needs help with.

SuburbanRhonda Sun 03-May-15 10:14:38

Sorry, second comment was to shadows.

chickenpoxpanic Sun 03-May-15 10:17:09

I have experience of several locally Suburban and haven't come across routine bottom wiping or even much supervision in the toilets. Children are expected to be independent at toileting. With a teacher and TA in the class there isn't enough staff for someone to be on toilet duty.

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