School readiness: Personal care and practicalities
  • Supports home learning

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By Hilary White

The transition from nursery to reception is one of the most important milestones in a young child’s life. There are many ways in which home and setting can help children develop school readiness, from building conversational skills to learning how to handle a mark-making tool. Being able to carry out school-related personal care tasks is another important area of preparation.

Seven children in winter coats and wearing backpacks

Knowing that we can rely on ourselves in any new situation is a confidence booster for older children and adults, and young children are no different. If a child knows that they can manage tasks such as dressing themselves, it removes one worry from what is bound to be an anxious time. It also makes life easier for the reception teacher and teaching assistants (TAs), which has a positive knock on effect for the whole class.

This article looks at some useful practical skills to work through with children in preparation for starting school, and includes an accompanying handout to give to parents.

Liaising with the schools

As a starting point, liaise with all the schools your children are going on to. Ask them for a list of self care skills they like children to have before starting, and whether they could lend any spare props (clothing, PE bags, book bags, cutlery, lunch trays) for role play activities.

Many reception teachers and TAs also visit early years settings as part of their transition programme for children. This can be a useful opportunity to ask them any questions or flag up concerns.

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