As your children move through nursery you will be thinking about how best to support their transition to school. At Portland Nurseries, we believe that preparing children for school starts as soon as children join nursery. Even in our baby room, our practitioners will be supporting the development of hand eye coordination, encouraging a love of books and developing language through singing and play – all essential skills that children need, not only for the start of their journey school, but also for life.
Whilst there is no definition of “school readiness”, OFSTED state that for a child to be school ready they:
- are able to separate from their carers
- are able to listen, speak and have good communication skills
- have a curious mind, and ask why.
- respect boundaries
- are able to share and cooperate appropriately
- have good physical skills where possible.
- are be able to recognise their name
- are be able to engage with books
All of the activities and experiences we provide in our settings are designed to provide your child with a foundation of skills and attributes that will help them to be confident and capable learners with well-developed social skills. We are passionate about our responsibility to build confident individuals who are ready for the next chapter in their lives with an enquiring mind and eagerness to learn.
Children’s muscles develop at different rates and for some children holding a pencil at this young age can be painful. We endeavour to ensure children are ready for writing by providing activities that develop pre-writing skills as before children can confidently control writing equipment, the muscles in their shoulders, arms and wrists need to be fully developed.
There are various activities that we ensure are available to all children regardless of their age or stage of development, such as play dough and other malleable resources, using scissors or other fine motor equipment, yoga, crawling through tunnels, the list is endless! We also encourage mark making in all areas, ensuring we enthuse children’s desire to learn at their own pace and following their own interests.
Experts child development have discovered that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers and spellers in their year two class. This is because nursery rhymes develop phonic skills. This is the awareness of the sounds within each word, for example understanding ‘sheep’ isn’t made up of the sounds from the letters s-h-e-e-p but rather the sounds sh-ee-p. This awareness of sounds is the starting point for reading.
Knowledge of rhymes helps children progress in reading once they start school. Studies have demonstrated that the better children are at detecting rhymes the quicker and more successful they will be at learning to read.
Therefore, we feel it is more important to focus on phonic awareness through learning and singing rhymes and following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ National Strategies. This age appropriate strategy allows children to develop at their own pace through planned, fun activities.
Our aim is for your child to love coming to nursery, to have fun and to learn though play, as this is definitely benefits your child the most.