Welcome new parents and children to Whitstone Primary School. I'm Miss Burt and I am the class teacher for Reception and Year 1. Under normal circumstances, you would all have met me by now and I'd have done several settling in sessions with your children. However, due to the current situation, I will be sending out information and doing our Transition sessions in September. Please have a look at the information enclosed here. I have also set up a class dojo group which you have been invited to and can use to message me.
I will be in touch soon with information about an online Q&A meeting.
Early years transition to Reception
The ideal transition from Pre-school to Reception stage:
When four-year-olds set off for their first day at ‘big school’, they should be full of positive emotions – excitement, confidence and happiness. This happens if they know exactly where they are going, who will be there, what they will be able to do when they get there and how long they will be staying there. A successful transition means children settle quickly into school, learning and developing from day one. Practitioners welcome a class of children (who they already know very well) and these children are settled, confident and ready to learn.
In the worst case of transition, 30 children turn up at 9am on the first day of term, to a school they have never visited, met by staff they don’t know and where their parents are not allowed to stay with them. Transition will be successful if:
● practitioners know each child, including their interests and needs;
● the school is able to meet these interests and needs;
● practitioners have formed a relationship with each family;
● children know, and like, the practitioners;
● children are familiar and happy with their new school environment, its routines and expectations;
● children have met and made friends with some of the other children who will be in their class.
A new approach:
Due to the virus and partial closures of schools, this has meant that we have been unable to take these actions in July. However, it is still essential to ensure that pupils are eased in gently which means that transition will take place in September instead.
Children will gradually build up to a full day in school by attending for half day sessions initially, gradually including staying for lunch. They will take part in lots of fun play-based activities, story-time, and be buddied up with year 1 pupils who will also help to mentor them.
We would also normally invite parents into school in the Summer term for a Meet and Greet session, with a chance to ask questions. This will now be done online instead via ‘Zoom’. (If anyone would prefer a phone call with the teacher instead – please let the school secretary know and this can be arranged.)
What Is the Early Foundation Stage?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) describes the standards for learning, development and care for young children from birth to 5 years old. These standards are followed by schools, preschools, playgroups, nurseries and registered childminders.
During the EYFS, children learn as they play. Learning as they play helps children to learn skills, such as exploring new objects and activities, developing and applying new skills, developing communication skills, learning to work with others and developing imagination and creativity.
Rather than a series of lessons throughout the day, where all the children are completing the same activity at the same time, several different activities will be taking place covering many different purposes. Children will often be engaged in activities, both inside and outside, working by themselves, in small groups or with an adult.
Adults will set up activities for children to explore and use, and children will also be able to choose their own tasks and resources too. Times for these activities will often be broken up by whole group activities with an adult, such as circle time, song time, taking the register, a maths or phonics activity or story time.
Activities are based on the children’s needs and interests, events in the world around them and exciting topics, stories and themes.
What Are the Areas of Learning and Development?
There are seven Areas of Learning and Development in the EYFS. These are split into two groups – Prime Areas and Specific Areas. The Prime Areas contain essential skills and will be the focus areas with the youngest children, but will also feature prominently in most activities throughout the EYFS.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Includes skills such as recognising emotions, sharing resources with others and making friends.
Includes skills such as large movements (e.g. walking, running, jumping) and small movements (e.g. holding mark-making tools). Also includes awareness of topics, such as healthy eating, and developing skills, such as getting dressed and personal needs.
Communication and Language
Includes skills such as listening to others, communicating needs and developing language and vocabulary.
Includes skills such as reading letter sounds, words and simple sentences, identifying letter sounds and writing letter sounds, words and sentences. Phonics is a key part of Literacy in EYFS.
Includes counting, identifying numbers, recognising shapes and patterns, and simple comparisons of measure such as height.
Understanding the World
Includes skills of using technology, such as tablets or computers, understanding celebrations, festivals and special events, and developing an understanding of why things happen and how they work.
Expressive Arts and Design
Encourages development of imaginative and creative skills by encouraging children to explore different materials, role-play activities and music.
Each day, children will have opportunities to develop skills across these areas of learning. These activities will take place both indoors and outdoors. Many activities will support the development of skills from several different areas of learning. For example, a painting activity would encourage children to develop creative skills, physical development skills and possibly communication and personal skills as they talk about what they have done, share materials and take pride in their work.
What Are Observations?
As children play while they are learning, adults will often observe children as they play. This enables them to assess the children’s level of skill and development, understand the child’s learning style and to plan next steps and future activities.
Observations vary in length – they can be short, brief notes written as an adult observes a child playing, or more detailed observations completed over a longer length of time. Adults will often include photos of the child completing a task, to support the observation.
Also, when completing an adult-led task with a child, adults will often write brief notes about how a child completed a task – for example, if they needed adult support, enjoyed completing the task or if they found a part of the task especially challenging. These notes are also very useful in deciding next steps and other activities to further develop the children’s skills.
What Areas Are There in an EYFS Setting?
There are often several different areas set up in an EYFS setting. These will be set up indoors and, where possible, outdoors too. These areas would usually contain activities for the children to access independently. Some common areas usually found in an EYFS classroom include; a sand tray, a water tray, a construction area, a playdough area, a creative area, a role-play area, a writing area, a maths area and a reading area.
Outside spaces are also really important – there will often by large climbing equipment for children to use, wheeled toys such as bikes or scooters, opportunities for gardening, opportunities for writing and counting activities and creative opportunities, such as dressing-up, role-play and music making.