5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. it’s June and it’s our third Little Lyons Countdown to Reception!

As the weather heats up it’s officially Summer, and the countdown continues towards the new academic year, when children will be officially starting school in Reception Class. Here is the third of our Little Lyons Launchpad ‘Countdown to Reception’ series.

Every month we are providing helpful tips for families to support and encourage their daughters to be ready for September. There is one practical tip, one that helps children to be ready for the rigour of school and one for you as a family too!

Family tip: Let’s talk about school uniform!
It’s a wonderful moment when your daughter puts on all of her new school uniform for the first time! It certainly marks a new exciting era – one that you will be sure to remember (and photograph)! Here are some tips to help make the buying, and trying on, of school uniform to be a positive experience for you all.

The key thing is that your daughter is going to be wearing her uniform for around six hours a day, five days a week – so it needs to be comfortable. Avoid the temptation to buy it far too big so that she can grow into it, as she just may not feel as comfortable in it. You ideally want her to view it positively (to like it and have a positive experience with it) – so be excited when you talk about the uniform and encourage her to see it as a something to be proud to wear. She will take her cues from you.

Practically speaking – two sets of uniform (where possible) make it easier for washing as they sometimes get quite messy during a busy day of learning! Easy to wear shoes (Velcro to begin with) are obviously key, and laces introduced when they are ready. Importantly, don’t forget to encourage your daughter to ‘wear in’ her new shoes – you don’t want her to have sore feet on her first day.

As well as buying new, many parents use second-hand uniform; they all grow so quickly it does make sense. Whilst this is perhaps more difficult at the moment due to Covid – do ask the School how you can still use this service – Lyonsdown joiners will be able to make use of the regular second-hand uniform sales, the next of which will be early in the Autumn Term.

To help your daughter, as well as her teacher and your family, do spend time labelling all of her uniform. We know this is an arduous task – but it is really worthwhile (saving frustration for her and your finances too). We can’t recommend the best labels, but can suggest you read this mumsnet thread which has plenty of different ideas of where you can buy them from: https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/3321107-best-name-labels-for-school-uniform

Let’s be practical tip: Dressing themselves
It only seems fitting to follow on from talking about school uniform to encouraging your daughters to dress themselves in readiness for school. By dressing themselves each morning from now on (if they don’t already do so), your daughter will be familiar with buttons, zips and getting changed. This means that when they are at school they will be ready to change in and out of their PE kit. This is important for their self-confidence, reducing frustration and saving them time to be able to get on with learning or playing.

In the first of this series we encouraged families to teach their child to put on their coat, using the very handy trick called ‘The Magic Coat Flip’ (you can watch a video of this great tip here). We hope your daughter has managed to master this, and now is definitely the right time to encourage her to be even more independent when getting dressed.

Begin with encouraging them to remove their clothing first and, once they can do this, move on to teaching them to get dressed. If possible, allocate more time in the mornings to getting dressed to allow her to experiment without the time constraint of needing to get out of the front door! Also try getting dressed with your daughter – she can follow what you are doing. Teach her about clothing tags – show her how you look at where the tags are before you put your clothes on – that way she knows the correct orientation of her clothes and doesn’t always put things on back to front!

Development & emotional support tip: Encouraging thinking skills
We have six important habits that we encourage all of our girls to develop during their time at school to become a ‘Lyonsdown Learner’. One of them is ‘curiosity’. We strongly believe all children should be curious – asking questions about things that are new to them or are perhaps out of their comfort zone. You can encourage your daughter, even before she joins school, to be curious. Pro-actively encourage her by asking “What do you think?”, “What do you think will happen if we do that?”, or “How can we make that happen?”, as well as reinforcing and praising her curiosity by saying “That’s a good question”. This will help her to be prepared for her learning journey when she arrives at school. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers to her curious questions – it can be fun to find out the answers together!

Finally, we hope you enjoyed our previous book recommendations – click here to remind yourself of last month’s instalment. This month we suggest ‘Topsy and Tim Start School’ by Jean & Gareth Adamson. We hope that adding this book to the others you are reading to your daughter over the coming months will help prompt positive conversations. You could ask her questions such as: how did the characters feel about starting school? Was there anything they were worried about? How did they feel at the end?

We hope you continue to find our Little Lyons Launchpad ‘Countdown to Reception’ tips useful – if you would like any further information about joining Lyonsdown’s Reception class, please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing enquiries@lyonsdownschool.co.uk .