We have loved having your child at The Opportunity Centre for their pre-school years, but as they turn 4 it is time to think about them heading off to primary school.

You will be contacted by Gloucestershire County Council when it is time to apply for your child’s school place. Keep an eye out for the posters we display around The Opportunity Centre to remind you to put your application in. The link at the bottom of this article will take you to the school admissions page at Gloucestershire County Council. There is also a link to a BBC bitesize article which gives lots of advice on what to consider when applying for primary school

Parents are informed during April which school their child has a place at. During our parent meetings in the spring we will discuss with you which school your child will be going to and begin to make the transition arrangements.  Contact varies from school to school, however most of the reception teachers visit the Opportunity Centre and your child will attend school for taster days.

Starting primary school is an exciting time for your child and we hope together we can give them the best start possible in their new class.  The more prepared your child is for school the easier they will find the transition; however, this is not about getting them to read and write.  During the Summer Term at The Opportunity Centre, we focus more on the social skills that will prepare them for their next steps.

Dressing Themselves

Being able to put their coat on and zip it up independently, take their jumper and shoes on and off will really help for outdoor play. When it comes to PE, children will be expected to undress and dress themselves. During the summer term at the Opportunity Centre, we take the children to the school hall for PE and we will be working on changing into PE kit.

Toileting and Personal Care

Another part of being independent at school is being able to use the toilet., including washing and drying their hands.  Reception class usually have a toilet nearby, but children are expected to use it on their own.  If your child is not confident in toileting on their own then they may avoid visiting the loo, until it is too late. To build confidence encourage your child to take toilet trips on their own.  Remember to include hand washing as part of the “visit”.   It will help if your child can blow their nose too.  When children start school, they are exposed to lots of bugs.  Being able to wipe their nose and put their tissue in the bin will help stop colds spreading.  Try buying your child their own small pack of tissues to keep in their pocket.

Eating Independently

If your child stays for lunch they will be used to eating independently. The Lunchtime supervisors at school are very helpful but you can encourage your child to practice opening packets and containers. Encourage them to help choose and make their lunches. If they will be having hot dinners, practice using a knife, fork, and spoon.

Recognising Their Name

If your child can recognise their name, they will be able to find their peg, their drawer in the classroom and find their jumper if it gets misplaced.  From the summer term onwards at The Opportunity Centre we encourage our Risings 5 group to recognise their name starting by taking away the pictures of the children from the morning board and replace them with their names. Starting school can make even the most confident child feel a little lost.  If they can locate and identify their things, then they will feel a little more in control. Show your child their name written down and put it around their room or on their things, this is a great way to help them recognise their name in preparation for school.

Using Manners, Sharing and Taking Turns

Please and thank you’s are very important too, use the words you would like to hear your children using. Encourage your child to share, use the phrases such as “my turn please” and “lets share”.

Communicating with Others, Listening and Carrying Out Instructions

Being able to interact appropriately with other children and adults is a key skill at school and this is supported by good communication skills.  The school day is full of instructions.  Your child will be asked to put their coat on a peg, get their lunchbox off the trolley and sit crossed legged on the carpet for circle time.  Get your child used to carrying out simple tasks such as ask them to find their shoes, get something from the cupboard or find their water bottle.

These are all things that you are probably helping your child to do every day, however as school approaches try taking a step back.   If you help a little bit less you will soon find your child enjoying being able to do all these things by themselves.  Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed, we will be doing lots of work with our Rising 5’s in preparation for September and you can help by using everyday experiences at home as opportunities for learning.  Teaching staff will always be on hand to help, but children feel a real sense of achievement when they accomplish things by themselves.