It is the time of year when families are filling in the forms to enrol their children for starting school
This year it may be a little more worrying than usual.
Some parents or carers may be wondering whether their child will be ready or not, especially if they have missed time in nursery.
Nearly all children have experienced some disruption in the last year or so. P1 teachers all know this and they will be ready for the children and take the time that they need to settle in. Schools will be a bit different to usual because we will be adapting to what the children need
Meanwhile there is lots you can do to help through play, games and fun. Just as important, there are some things you really don’t need to worry about!
There are some posters below on how play and talk at home can build foundations for different kinds of learning
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.
One of the things people worry about is whether children can sit still. So, how do we learn this? By moving about, of course! As children move, and gain more control, they become more able to focus and be still
But that’s not really that important. Feeling good in your body, feeling in control of it – these are the foundations for resilience, the sense that we can cope with things and can have a go at a challenge
Today is all about moving and laughing. There is counting too, as you have to jump a certain number of times. You’ll need to tailor this to your child as some will know more numbers than others. If your child is secure counting to 2, 3 or 4, then start there and see if you can built another number on.
Or if, like many young children, your child is not that secure with counting at all – then let them jump or kick along with you as you count for them.
If this just turns into random movement, don’t worry – this means your child is developing coordination and that’s what they need right now.
A story today that gets us moving about and dancing – you can do it indoors or out!
But first, settling down with a story, hearing it over and over, and interacting with the pictures – these are great ways for children to learn new words, develop concentration and listening skills
And how to manage feelings. There is a scary fox at one point! But it all turns out OK in the end (I won’t spoil the ending …)
So many play ideas to take the fun and learning further. Pretend to be a rabbit? Dance til someone says “fox” and then be still as you can? Find out more about the instruments the rabbits play – can you make a trumpet out of a cardboard tube or a drum out of, well, anything strong enough?
It is enrolment week in Highland, so an extra post today as this is not a usual year!
Starting school is an exciting time for children and for their families. It can feel like a big moment and everyone wants it to go well.
This year it might feel like a bigger step than usual. With time in nursery having been disrupted, not to mention all the other things families have had to think about in the last few months, there may be worries that children will have missed important learning and won’t be ready.
Reasons to be confident
The good news is that in Scotland, nursery and Primary 1 are part of the same Early Level in the curriculum. What this means is that there is not meant to be a big jump on starting school, and Primary 1 teachers make sure that they adapt to each child as they are when they come in.
This will be especially so this year as every child will have had a different set of experiences, and teachers will spend time to get to know them through play to work out what they need to learn.
There isn’t a list of what children have to be able to do when they start school. So if your child is not doing this or that – or if they seem ahead of your neighbours in some ways and behind in others – it does not matter.
What can families do?
But there are some things you can do to help your child’s learning and development, and these will all help in the move to school.
The main, and best thing, you can do is to set aside some time each day to play and talk with your child. Get outside when you can, enjoy some stories and follow their interests wherever this goes. If you are not sure what to do, then there are lots of activities on www.bumps2bairns to choose from – just use the tags to find something fun
On Friday, we will be posting some more detail on preparing for school including some of the things you really don’t need to do!
Snow is forecast for today and tomorrow, so hopefully you will get some (but not too much!)
We don’t often get enough for a full size snowman, but that does not matter. There are smaller things to make – how about a mini snowman, snow cat, snow dog, snow mouse, snow “not sure what it is”?
A chance to explore and see what you can find to decorate – sticks, pebbles, leaves …
It is fun, and there is lots of learning about different feels and textures and how we describe them. Also about estimating, and talking about concepts like more, enough or less. And lots of maths too as we explore the shapes we make and chat about them.
And a final part can be watching your creation melt in the next few hours or days, saying goodbye – it may not seem much, but this can helps build resilience to change and loss too.
But mainly it is about having fun in the snow. Just make sure you find somewhere clean and safe to play.
Have you ever thought about the huge variety of patterns that are part of our everyday lives? If not, today could be the day!
When children become aware of patterns, they are fascinated by them and will begin to see them in everything …
Understanding what makes a pattern helps children to learn things like rhythm and time, how to make predictions and many other skills they will use in daily life. It even underlies learning about number and how to write a story.
Enjoy playing and talking together with your child today as you find patterns everywhere!
And remember, nature outside is full of patterns. Snowy or frosty days are great for pattern spotting but you need to be quick or they will disappear!
The dark can be scary, and it can also be exciting! If we can give children fun experiences with darkness, where they feel in control, the easier they will feel about it and their fears will gradually fade
Judge this activity according to your child – it does not need total darkness. They may be happy just spending the time experimenting with drawing the curtains during the day to see the changes in a room. Or they may want the full pitch dark experience!
It is a fun version of a treasure hunt, where children try to find shiny things in a darkened room by using a torch or the light on your phone. This can lead to explorations about shiny and dull things, reflections and brightness – or just to gradually more and more difficult searches as your child challenges you to find things.
You can do this indoors or out, but make sure you are in a safe place like your own garden if going outdoors in the dark
There’s still quite a bit of ice around, and it is great stuff to explore and play with
Take care out and about – it can be slippery! But children can get so much from exploring the texture, the feel, the slidey surfaces
If you don’t want to venture out, or don’t have any ice nearby you can safely get to, then there is lots you can do indoors with a freezer or freezer compartment – try making some ice with your child, or taking some out and seeing how it slides across the table. What does it feel like to hold?
All the time, your child will be learning a lot of science, as well as about their senses and how to describe temperature and other experiences. They will be exploring water and how it can change – be warned, they may want to know how the freezer works!