The Early Years are the most important in a child’s life – and we are focused on getting that right to ensure they have the best start to life possible.
We believe nursery life is so much more than school readiness – it’s about all the skills that will set children up to succeed when they move on to school, including ensuring a successful and smooth transition.
With all that in mind, this blog unpacks what we do to make sure children are ready when they leave us to move on to school. All the content has been gathered from speaking to the schools our children transition to in order to get a really good understanding of what they view as important, advice from various professional bodies (such as the local council and PACEY), as well as our own experiences as Muddy Boots and our curriculum.
To be sociable and able to build relationships
We support children and help them know how to build and develop relationships with their peers. This includes learning how to solve conflicts, being welcoming to new children, and learning about how we are all different. All of this sets the children up well to move on to their new setting and make lots of new friends.
To develop a love of learning
We believe this is one of the most important things we can teach the little people we have at Muddy Boots. Finding learning fun and interesting will set children up well, not just for school, but even further than that. It means they will be heading off to school ready and excited to learn lots of new things in a formal setting, as well as also being able to investigate, explore and learn independently.
To be able to recognise their own name
We do lot’s to support this throughout the nursery, encouraging children to find their own names in a range of different contexts, which helps them be ready for things like finding their own drawer or peg at school. It is also often the first word they learn to read and recognise, so it can help them to start to recognise letters and sounds ready for reading.
To be able to put on their own coat and shoes
Again, this is something we encourage throughout nursery – allowing children to have a go but with an adult on hand to help if they need it. This helps, not just in school when getting ready for PE or getting ready to head home, but also at home on those inevitable stressful mornings trying to get out of the door for school!
To enjoy books and stories
We love books and stories here at Muddy Boots and aim to instill this love in all the children who come through our doors. If children love books and stories, they have a fantastic basis for when they are ready to learn to read. If they want to read, then half the battle is won before you have even started!
To be able to use the toilet independently
This is a very individual step depending on the child. When children are first out of nappies we support them to use the toilet, wipe, and wash hands. As they become more confident, the more we encourage them to be independent – not just a skill for school but something which is helpful at home as well!
To be able to ask for help when needed
Although we encourage independence more and more as children move through nursery, and especially in pre-school, we still want children to feel safe and supported by the adults in their room. This means that they know they can go to someone if they need a little support – whether this be something practical, something they want to find out about, or some emotional support. We believe that instilling this at nursery will ensure children are confident to ask for help at school when they need it too.
To develop their independence and sense of self
We encourage children to be as independent as possible in a range of ways – getting changed or toileting, solving conflict with peers, and even in their own learning. All of this helps to develop a sense of self. We want children to feel confident in their own abilities, and to know their importance and worth in the world. We talk to children about themselves, their families, and their cultures, all whilst encouraging them to share this with their peers.
To develop early writing skills
This starts from the moment children start at Muddy Boots and builds all the way through their nursery journey. The initial stages of developing early writing skills are to develop the muscles needed, which starts with big (or ‘gross motor’) skills when they are little, such as ribbon dancing or using big trays of sand to make marks. It then moves on to smaller (or ‘fine motor’) skills as they gain confidence – which might be using tweezers to pick things up or one of our favourite things to do – Dough Disco!
Once those important muscles are developed we can focus on making marks, which we do in lots of different ways. Providing a range of resources for this across the rooms and outdoors means that children can access them alongside their interests or their favourite spot to play in. Again, a big thing with early writing is ensuring children are enjoying it and choosing to do it, and that it doesn’t become a ‘task’ that pulls them away from their play.
To develop early mathematic skills
Similarly to early writing, this isn’t something that we start focussing on when children move into pre-school – maths is happening every day, in every room at Muddy Boots. This might be singing number rhymes, using language around size or shape or just noticing patterns in everyday things.
All of this and more helps to build up an understanding of maths, which then forms a basis for starting to think about more typical maths concepts, such as one more or one less.
To develop early phonics awareness
Phonics is taught slightly differently at every school, so we don’t follow any particular schemes within nursery as this can be unhelpful when children get to school. However, we do focus on phonics awareness – starting early on with things like recognising sounds and the difference between them.
This provides a foundation for pre-school when children start to hear differences between sounds, often starting with the first letters of their names (and their friends) and moving on from there.
Every child is different, some children start school when they have just turned 4, and some are very nearly 5 – one thing is for sure, whilst we are working on all these areas on a daily basis across nursery, every child’s key person will be focussing specifically on where each child is at and planning specifically for them and their needs. This may include focussing particularly on one area they are especially struggling in, or going with them even further in an area they are interested in.
Hopefully, this has given you an insight into some of the ways we help children make their transition into ‘big school’. Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing more blogs that will go into more detail in these areas, as well as all of the following areas:
- The role of our Early Years Teachers
- Ideas of things you can do at home to help your child’s transition
- What the school transition process will look like and feel like.
If there is anything you would like more information on or a blog you want to suggest, please do just let us know!