Dragonflies Digest

Preparing your Child for School

Preparing your child for School – If you have a little one starting school soon you might well have a lot of questions or worries.

  • Will they get the Reception place you hoped for?
  • Will they have settling-in sessions?
  • What if I’m still on the waiting list for my preferred school or want to
  • appeal my place?
  • Will my child be ready for the school day?
  • How will I manage the holidays?

prepare for the first day of schoolAt Ditcham Park School we run Stay and Play sessions throughout the year to help prepare you and your little ones for this big transition. We cover all emotional, developmental and logistical elements in our workshops to support you both in feeling best prepared to navigate this change. We will answer all your questions to ensure that your child has the best possible start to their school career.

It might feel like there is so much you don’t know, but there are definitely things you CAN do right now.  Every year when I run my School Readiness workshops one of the main questions we get asked every year is, ‘What shall I do? My child can’t write their name!’ – parents sometimes worry if their child will be able to read or even hold a pen at the point of entering Reception when every other child could potentially write their name in flowing brush script. But fear not, there is frequently an audible sigh of relief when I explain that at this point, it really doesn’t matter. Comparing your child to others is always futile as children are unique and will develop at different rates. For example, Some four-year-olds really enjoy mark-making and painting and may have already mastered a couple of letters or even their name. Some might be into numbers or know substantial facts about dinosaurs or maybe can ride a bike. Every child is completely different and has their own strengths and interests in diverse areas, but the one thing you can do for all of them is support their physical development.

You cannot have the effective fine motor skills that you need for emerging writing skills and doing up buttons and zips without strong gross motor and core muscles. So, consciously working on gross motor skills each day will really help your child in so many ways. It is not as hard as it sounds to plan activities!

How do I prepare my Child for School? – Here are my top tips

  1. You don’t need a  huge garden! Take time in the park or on the pavement to make your own physical obstacle course. Can you sprint for ten seconds?  Can you hop to the tree, jump over that puddle, reach up and swing on that branch?
  2. See if you can plan a route near your child’s new school. Walk past it, point out of some the features and help them become familiar with what it looks like and features you can see from the outside.
  3. Practice fine motor skills. You can make a scavenger hunt and get your child to pick up stones, sticks or flowers along the way. Each new object will be working finger muscles as they point, reach, pick and lift the items.
  4. Using a scooter or balance bike, or practicing balancing on one leg can all help core strength. Make it fun, perhaps into a family competition!
  5. For rainy days, you can make a den inside – picking and moving cushions, crouching and climbing into the den. You can also work on establishing a growth mindset so that can be resilient when that den inevitably tumbles!

stay and play

Have fun, do tag us in your pictures of what you and your little ones have got up to! Remember that your child is unique, enjoy helping them to navigate these early years because in the blink of an eye, they will be heading to Senior School and suddenly playing with mum is simply just not cool anymore….!

Christina Lydon is a child development and school readiness expert. She is frequently on hand during Stay and Plays in Dragonflies and Reception at Ditcham Park School. She has worked extensively in the NHS, currently in a Central London NHS ChildDevelopment Service, and in various Early Years settings.


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  • Facebook @School Readiness UK

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