If you’ve got a little one starting school for the first time this year and you’re worried about how it’s all going to pan out in the aftermath of the pandemic you’re not alone.

Our third born Marigold May is due to start reception in September and despite having been there, done it and experienced the tea and tears twice before the truth is I’m still anxious about how it’s all going to go!

reception ready

The fact is Marigold’s experience of starting school is going to be very different to that of her older brother and sister. Thanks to Covid most of the settling in and familiarisation events have been cancelled, and I probably won’t be able to settle her into the classroom in the same way I did with her brother and sister either.

The chances are her bubble is bound to burst at some point too, so I’m pretty sure her reception year will be disrupted by Covid in some way at some point. The question is: what can we do about it?

If you’re in the same boat as us and want everything to go as smoothly as possible I thought it would be useful to share how we’re getting school ready in the wake of the pandemic – but don’t worry it doesn’t involve the dreaded class teddy!

5 ways we’re getting reception ready in the wake of coronavirus

1. We’re talking about school – a lot

Marigold is so excited about starting big school so we’re talking about it a lot: what uniform she’ll wear, the kinds of activities she’ll do at school and what the school day will be like. I think talking about it helps her build a picture in her mind, which in turn makes her feel confident about this next step in her life.

reception ready

2. We’re reading starting school books at bedtime

There are so many ‘starting school’ books out there but an all-time favourite in our house has to be Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. It’s an oldie but a goodie: a charming story which focuses on the children and their first year with really lovely illustrations too. This one still loves reading our copy two years after he started school!

reception ready

3. I’ve joined the class WhatsApp group early

It’s quite possible I’m losing my mind (I’m not a fan of class WhatsApp groups, mainly because you end up with WhatsApp groups for WhatsApp groups and they’re like rabbit holes in which you can easily lose a few hours) BUT for the purposes of getting reception ready I’ve joined the class WhatsApp group early. It means I can find out who’s going to be in Marigold’s class and we can get to know the other parents and children ahead of the big day – even though it means I now have three class WhatsApp groups to *try* and stay on top of!

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4. We’re going on playdates

Thanks to joining the class WhatsApp group early we’ve already been on a socially distanced playdate with the new children in her year and we’ve got more planned before the start of term. That way, by the time the big day comes, she’ll already have made some friends instead of being met with a sea of new and unfamiliar faces.


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5. We’re talking about coronavirus

It’s natural to want to shield little ones from the hard facts of life but not talking about coronavirus is a bit like having an elephant in the room. Instead we’re talking about things like the importance of washing hands and keeping to bubbles just like they do at nursery in a bid to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible – even though they’re anything but normal!

reception ready

Do you have any top tips for getting little ones reception ready, either post Covid or otherwise? I’d love to know what they are!

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10 wishes for my lockdown baby on her first birthday

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