Got a little one starting school?

Wondering what you can do as a parent to make the transition from home or nursery to school as smooth as possible? Then you’ve come to the right place!


We’re counting down the days until the middle one starts reception, and with his first day just over a month away I’m keen to make the most of the summer to help get him reception ready.

Nursery have done a stirling job preparing him for what to expect, but I know there are things we can be doing at home as parents too. So, if you’re in the same boat as me with a little one starting reception soon, Sophie Baber, head teacher at Brookham Prep School in Hampshire, has these helpful tips.

5 helpful ways to get your child reception ready

1. Make the most of the summer

“Summer is a very good time to start considering how to prepare your child for their very first day at school,” says Sophie. “This can be an exciting if daunting period, but a child’s first experience of school is important and it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that the transition is as positive as possible. As a parent, you play a vital role in making sure your child approaches school with a spring in their step.”


2. Make sure they can read their name

“If there is one word that your child should be able to read when they start school, their name has to be at the top of the list,” Sophie says. “It will be plastered on every available surface in school. Their register label, table, chair, pegs, books and uniform in an array of different fonts. Just remember to use the same name that you’ve put on your child’s registration forms as there is little point teaching your child to read Joey, when every label at school will say Joseph.”


3. Introduce phonic rhyming patterns

“Nursery rhymes are lots of fun to sing, while having the added bonus of being key to building the foundations for learning phonics,” says Sophie. “You have probably been singing Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for the last four years, but what about Sing a Song of Sixpence or Hickerty Pickerty, My Black Hen? The more a child hears and learns, the more they tune in their ears to phonic rhyming patterns.”


4. Encourage them to listen

“Learning to listen is another vital prerequisite to reading,” says Sophie. “Summer is a wonderful time to practise listening. Lying in the garden listening to the bees buzzing and the birds singing is a lovely way to encourage a young child to practise sound discrimination. This skill will in turn help a child learn the units of sounds in words as their auditory discrimination becomes more fine-tuned.”


5. Foster a love of books

“As a parent, this is one of the greatest gifts to give,” says Sophie. “Cuddling up for a bedtime story should be a treat for both you and your child. The bonus is you are doing a huge amount to support your child’s learning at the same time. You will be modelling how to hold a book, turning the pages, using the illustrations to support the text, but most importantly, you are filling your child with a wonderful array of language.”


Do you have a child starting reception this year? How are you getting reception ready? I’d love to hear about your experience!

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