Returning to school or nursery?

Schools and nurseries reopen next week, and the Scottish Government has asked for full time provision to be available from 18th August

Many of us are feeling very hopeful – staff are looking forward to seeing the children, and many families will be glad to get back to “normal” a bit more

But also we all have some worries. These are natural, and there are things we can do about them

Here is a poster with some ideas for helping a child or young person prepare for going back to (or starting) nursery or school

Starting school in August?

The only thing young children and families need to do to get “ready” for starting school is to play and talk together, having fun over the summer

Let’s hope for some good weather!

Some parents or carers may be worried whether their child will be ready or not, especially if they have missed time in nursery. P1 teachers all know this and they will be ready for the children and take the time that they need to settle in.

Meanwhile there is lots you can do to help through play, games and fun

There are some posters below on how play and talk at home can build foundations for different kinds of learning – including the things you really don’t need to worry about!

Nothing is required or expected, but hopefully some of these ideas will be fun and help deal with any worries you might have.

If you click the image, that will give a pdf that can be printed – and there is a link to a clearer image to view on screen too.


Health & Wellbeing

Click the image for a printable pdf


Reading

Click the image for a printable pdf


Writing

Click the image for a printable pdf


Maths

Click the image for a printable pdf

Starting school soon?

If your child is due to start school this August, this post is for you!

It is a big step in a child’s life and also for a parent or carer. We naturally worry about whether they will be OK, and whether they are ready.

This year in particular it would be understandable to be more concerned if children have missed out on time in early learning and childcare.

P1 teachers will be aware of this and they will adapt as they would with any new class.  This year will be a bit different, but the schools will be ready for it, and ready to take children on the next stage of their journey.

Over the next couple of days, and from time to time over the summer, we will be posting some ideas for what you can do at home through play and fun to prepare for school. There is nothing you have to do, there is no target to reach to be “ready”.

But lots you can do to help your child with learning and development, without even noticing. The main thing? Play and talk together, spend time, laugh, do silly things, get messy, go out and see the natural world, enjoy doing whatever you are doing – that is the foundation that children need most of all.

Foam fun

Making a mess and getting all messy can be great fun. Clearing it up, less so! Sometimes parents worry about messy play – is it really worthwhile, what about the carpet or the dog?

But there is so much learning that happens through mess and exploring different textures and effects. Foam is also great for developing mark making and understanding shapes – all of which is part of getting ready to write

Today’s idea is very clean messy play as it involve soapy foam. Make sure you use a source for the foam that is OK for your child’s skin – if they have a favourite bubble bath, that is ideal

Store cupboard searches

Children love being nosy and taking things out and putting them back, so today’s idea is all about exploring cupboards to learn about different kinds of foods

Depending on your kitchen you may prefer to fill up a box for them to explore safely on the floor or table top – or you may have a ground level cupboard they can access more independently

As they find things, or take them out of the box, chat about what kind of food they are, where it comes from and what we can do with it

You never know, they may end up making the dinner “with” you!

Musical statues

Another game today that can be played outside at a safe distance of 2 metres with family or friends – or at home just with your child

It is an old favourite that is usually a lot of laughs, but there is a lot of learning too

Your child will be developing the key skill of “not doing” something – stopping ourselves doing or saying something is really hard and games like this help build your child’s control over their actions

Plus, dancing around and laughing at people (safely) falling over is really good for our wellbeing …

The cow who fell to Earth

Today a lovely story by Nadia Shireen about a little cow who goes travelling in space!

It is a great story just to enjoy, and it also has learning about what makes groups of people different and how we can all get along (Moon cows are a bit like us, but also not … Woo Woo!)

And to make your child curious about different languages and how they sound. Or if today is a more active day, you can show your child how to slow down by playing counting down games

Or dig out some photos of places you have been and chat about how the people were different there

When everyone is tired, there is always the chance to hear the story again, or do some drawing and mark making all about it.

Moving mayhem

The weather forecast for the weekend is good so a play idea today that can be done safely when meeting up with family or friends and following public health guidance

But it is also fun at home too

It is all about helping your child do the same actions in different ways. This will help build coordination and self-control. It is as simple as starting off jumping quickly, and then jumping slowly … Or pretending to brush your teeth as though you are happy, and then as though you are grumpy.

Along the way, they will learn lots of words to describe actions and they may also have fun challenging you or others

Hey diddle diddle!

Sometimes life just does not make sense, and today’s rhyme certainly doesn’t!

Children enjoy nonsense, and it is a great way to play with language and let off steam at the same time

Hearing different sounds and how they fit together is an important foundation for reading and spelling.

And there is lots of play you can try after. Maybe not over the moon, but can you jump over a stick (how high?) or a puddle?

You can even do jumping contests out and about with loved ones while keeping a 2m distance

Can I play?

Today we have a story all about joining in, what it is like to be left out, how to share things and attention, and how to cope with bossy people!

It is a great story for if everyone is getting a bit fed up with lockdown and being on top of each other

And a chance to chat with your child about the future – making friends, how to play together and what to do if it goes wrong

You can watch the story together on the Book Trust youtube channel. It is by Caryl Hart and illustrated by Tony Neal.

Out of the box!

Some homes have more cardboard boxes around than usual at the moment as we have to get more things delivered

This may be a nuisance, but cardboard boxes are also one of the most useful resources for play and learning. They can be anything your child wants to imagine them to be – a castle, a boat, a hat, or even just a box to put things in!

Today the idea is simply to give your child some boxes and some decorating materials and see what they do with them. If they are stuck you can help with ideas, but the best learning will come from them taking the lead and you following

Remember to chat about what they are doing – say what you see (try not to ask too many questions!) and wait for a response.

Shapes and sizes

Remember trying to learn the difference between a rectangle and a square, or the different kinds of triangles?

Shapes can be much more interesting and fun than this, and they come in many different sizes too!

We have two games to try today. The first is a matching game where you draw round a few things and see if your child can match object to shape

Or you can help your child draw round lots of different items and compare them – if you get onto drawing round everyone’s hands and feet this could last all day …

Sleeping bunnies

Ever just feel like you could lie down and have a snooze?

Today’s song is all about the difference between being quiet and still and bouncing around. This is great fun, and also helps children develop skills to manage their levels of activity and feelings

And a chance to chat and learn about different animals and how they move about. A great one to do out and about with family or friends at a 2 metre distance too

Words, tune and two versions to watch (including one with signing) are on the downloadable sheet

The Ugly Duckling

A story and a song today that can take you almost anywhere!

It is about finding out who we are and how we fit in. And about how we can cope when things go wrong, or people are unkind – about not giving up

Or it is about how we change as we grow and learn new things

Or about birds, wildlife and nature

Mainly it is a fun way to enjoy a story or singing a song together, and along the way your child will learn lots about words and sequences too