By Mrs Roosha Sue, Headmistress of Eaton House The Manor Nursery and Head of Early Years for Eaton House Schools
Getting children school-ready for ‘big school’ is what we do best at Eaton House The Manor Nursery. As Head of Nursery, I aim to make sure that every child leaves the nursery, a curious and happy learner willing to have a go at anything. We have two different year groups, one year in the Cubs (age 2-3) and one year in the Bears (age 3-4), to make the magic happen.
Table of contents:
- Getting children school-ready for ‘big school’ with the seven years of the Early Years Foundation Stage
- Facilities matter in getting the children school-ready
- Preparing the children to be school-ready starts early
- Parental communication is vital to being school-ready
- Further information
Before your child’s first day at nursery, carefully planned one-hour settling-in sessions of arts and crafts occur throughout the preceding term.
When the first day of the term comes around, the children are already familiar with the learning environment, enabling them to settle more quickly. The class teachers chat to the parents and children, complete an ‘All About Me’ questionnaire, and quickly know their favourite songs and stories. In this way, the children become used to our routines, have a sense of belonging and feel known from the outset. But, of course, this is just the beginning.
Seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage
For the rest of the time in our nursery, we work on the seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Teachers guide each child through the curriculum at a pace that is suitable for them.
Communication and Language help your child to maintain attention and concentrate. This is vital for all learning, and it can be in large group work or one to one. We make sure that we meet all the language milestones, ready for saying sounds in preparation for reading.
All children are exposed to sounds and numbers early on. We warm them up to future reading, writing and mathematics, offering an array of fun and hands-on learning experiences.
This could be digging for numbers in the sandpit, writing letters in glitter or jumping and counting ten bunny jumps! In addition to the EYFS curriculum, we offer a huge variety of off-site trips, together with tap dancing, yoga, an introduction to French, Spanish and swimming too!
Facilities matter in getting children school-ready
Eaton House The Manor Nursery is a stunning open plan, purpose-built nursery with free flow to our garden. We also have the wonderful opportunity to use all the ‘big school’ facilities. Each week we visit the theatre for music and our nursery assembly. We also visit the IT room, library and gym. The children become very familiar with the spaces quickly and early on at Nursery, so moving to the Kindergarten is a super smooth transition.
Children also participate in cooking each week in the dining room, and when they stay for a full day, lunch is eaten in the dining room as well, and there is no better way than to experience the place yourself.
Children have the benefit of specialist teachers from our other on-site schools. Miss Leah, Head of Girls’ Music, teaches our music lessons, and Mr David from the Pre-Prep teaches our PE lessons. The boys and girls love these ‘new faces’ coming into the Nursery classrooms and get to know them before moving up to ‘big school’.
Preparing children to be school-ready starts early
As the time comes closer, we start talking about the change ahead. We use books such as Topsy and Tim’s first day at school to discuss what to expect. We use a specific time to talk about how we might feel and normalise emotions around the transition. So we might use words like ‘worried’, ‘excited’, ‘scared’ and ‘happy’ to help them express how they are feeling.
We walk past the new classrooms and wave at the new teachers, which the children always absolutely love. We make a social storybook with photographs sent home for some children who need extra support around change. We also consider how to support children to become more independent. We practice changing our shoes and getting dressed. In all these ways, we prepare for the start of school and look forward to being ‘school-ready.’
Parental communication is vital to being school-ready
Anything we need to do to make the transition as smooth as possible, we will help with. We stay in constant communication with parents along the way, and any concerns are addressed immediately. I know when I wave off the last child from my nursery, I have done everything I can for every child.
I have, hand on heart, fully prepared them for the next stage of their educational journey to be school-ready, and the following Dr Seuss poem always springs to mind:
‘You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!’
― Dr Seuss, ‘Oh, the Places You'll Go!’
I've always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are best because they are beginnings.
Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world. Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.
Eaton House Schools - if you are interested in finding out more about our schools for your child, please contact Miss Sam Feilding, Head of Admissions, on 0203 917 5050 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a general enquiry, please contact us at email@example.com.