School readiness is a term which gets used by a lot of people, as children enter their last year at a nursery or pre-school. But why are people so focussed on school readiness and what does it actually mean?
Many parents/carers often believe that school readiness is something that a child should be achieving before starting reception class, but this could be better described as getting ready for the school transition. ‘School readiness’ actually refers to a child being ready to make the transition from an early year’s setting, which includes reception class, to year 1 of school.
Getting ready for the transition to school should not be about whether your child can read or write but instead should be about having strong social skills, being resilient, coping emotionally with being separated from their parents/carers, are relatively independent in their own personal care, have a curiosity about the world and a desire to learn.
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The Early Years Foundation Stage from the Department of Education (EYFS) is the early years curriculum which starts at birth and continues until the end of a school’s reception class. So, what you and your child see in the classroom when they start school should not look too different to what they see at nursery or in a pre-school. The focus of any reception class is that learning should still happen through play.
The Department of Education states that:
“This framework (EYFS) does not prescribe a particular teaching approach. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals, and solve problems. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. Practitioners need to decide what they want children in their setting to learn, and the most effective ways to teach it. Practitioners must stimulate children’s interests, responding to each child’s emerging needs and guiding their development through warm, positive interactions coupled with secure routines for play and learning. As children grow older and move into the reception year, there should be a greater focus on teaching the essential skills and knowledge in the specific areas of learning. This will help children to prepare for year 1”.
At Beech Tree Childcare we do not just get your child ready for the transition to school. More importantly we get them ready for life. The early years is not about school transition but is an important stage in every child’s life. Research has shown that the first 1001 days of a child’s life is a critical period for a baby that sets the foundations for lifelong emotional and physical wellbeing. This is a time of rapid growth and brain development which starts from conception through to the age of two. The early years is a unique educational stage in its own right. Early childhood is recognised as a valuable phase around the world,
Our core values at Beech Tree Childcare ensure a holistic approach to a child’s development, keeping the child at the heart of everything we do. They are:
Take writing as one point which people think shows school readiness and that a child should be able to do before they start school in the reception class.
Writing in the Early Years.
At Beech Tree Childcare our highly trained educators know that physical development and writing skills are inextricably linked. It is worth remembering that until the brain is mature enough and the muscles strong enough a child simply cannot learn a skill. Children learn to control their bodies from the centre outwards and from the top downwards.
In other words, babies build up their neck muscles so they can hold up their heads, then the trunk muscles so they can sit, and finally the whole-body control and balance required for walking. Arm and finger control follows the same pattern: at first a child will be able to manipulate the arm from the shoulder joint; gradually he understands how to control the hands; finally, he learns how to make the fine finger movements needed to write.
To be able to perform the fine motor dexterity that writing requires, children need to have strong muscles, good co-ordination, and balance. This can only be achieved through play – digging in the mud kitchen, painting on the fences, squeezing and rolling playdough, running around outside, moving their bodies, judging spaces etc ……. being active and not sitting on chairs, but by building a strong core to even be able to pick up a pencil and write.
From the youngest to our oldest children, they are learning the skills for writing without even realising it. We will never tell a child to sit down and to copy letters, but instead give them opportunities to make marks throughout their play, such as ‘writing’ shopping lists, notes to their friends, painting pictures, chalking on the floor and learning that writing conveys a message through having a literacy rich environment where writing is all around them in all the areas they play in …… this is how writing is developed.
Children leave Beech Tree Childcare being able to write letters, recognising letters in their name, letters in their name which appear in other words and some children writing full words. We need to create a love for writing and recognising that words and writing convey meaning not just because somebody told you to stop your play and sit down to copy letters. You can continue your play and make marks which will one day become letters, then words, then sentences, through educators who understand your individual learning and how to ‘teach’ you.
And what does the Early Years Statutory Framework state what writing skills should look like at the end of reception year?
Children at the expected level of development will:
- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.
- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters.
- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.
Beech Tree Childcare
Roundstone Lane (within the grounds of Worthing Rugby Club)
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