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

As the countdown continues towards September, when children will be officially starting school in Reception, here is the second 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: Be confident and excited about school
In the first countdown to Reception advice last month, we advised parents to pace their transition – to gradually increase the amount you talk about starting school. This month’s tip builds on this advice. We recommend that whenever you mention joining school and starting in Reception full time, always try and keep the conversation as positive as possible. You could talk about all the new experiences to be had, skills to learn, and friends to be made. It’s also always worth remembering that even the littlest of children have the biggest ears! They may listen in or pick up on what you say about joining school even when they aren’t part of the conversation. So, where possible, try not to talk about your own worries and concerns when your child might, or could, be listening. Be ‘publicly positive’ at all times and they’ll only ever see that starting school is a good thing and will mirror your positivity and confidence.

This is especially important this month as schools begin to offer induction sessions for the children who are joining them. At Lyonsdown our induction sessions are now all planned; as we safely move out of COVID restrictions, we are pleased that we can welcome our new starters into school. We hope that families will be able to use this as an opportunity to have lovely positive conversations with their daughters, in readiness for both their induction and for joining in September.

Let’s be practical tip: Eating with others
How is your daughter getting on with ‘The Magic Coat Flip’ that we suggested she try last month? Who would have thought it would be so cold that it would come in for so much use! Practice definitely makes perfect, and our second tip for getting ready for school is to ensure your daughter can confidently use cutlery independently.

All children develop at different rates meaning that, right now, your daughters may all be at different stages in the process of mastering the use of a knife and fork. The ideal is that your daughter should be confident to use cutlery by herself by September. To help her be ready for this milestone, encourage her to practise over the coming months. Our top tips are:

  • If your daughter is struggling – remind her how to hold the cutlery by showing her and talking through each step of how to cut or spread.
  • Encourage her to ‘stab, slide, saw’ with her knife and fork. You can watch this video – https://youtu.be/cau5cevLg2U which shows this ‘stab, slide, saw’ technique.
  • Work on just one aspect of using a knife at a time e.g. spreading or cutting.
  • Be creative – practice doesn’t just have to be done at the dinner table! Why not practise using a spoon, fork and knife (for cutting and spreading) during other activities e.g. when playing with play dough, during baking or when doing craft activities.

Development & emotional support tip: Following Instructions
Being able (and willing!) to following directions is such an important skill as so much of school learning will rely on these skills. Encouraging your child to follow instructions, by concentrating and focusing, will really help your daughter to take on board the information they will need for a successful school day. A great way to do this at home is via games such as ‘Simon Says’ and ‘Musical Bumps/Statues’. As well as being good fun, they really do develop listening skills, concentration and focus.

Finally, we hope you enjoyed last month’s two book recommendations – click here to remember which ones they were. This month we suggest ‘Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo!’ by Emma Chichester Clark. Adding this great book to the others you are reading over the coming months will help prompt positive conversations with your daughter. 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 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 .

“We are known and loved for being a family school,” concludes Mrs Stanton-Tonner. “We hope that you are enjoying our new ‘Countdown to Reception’ hints and tips, and that your daughter is enjoying her new-found skills.”