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What is School?

“They’re going to learn what?!” a mother said to me recently.

You’d think I’d just told her that her first born would be taught algebra on day one but no, we were merely chatting about the aims and objectives for Reception children. She had no clue and I had clearly opened up Pandora’s Toy Box of school secrets.

So what is school? What does it mean for your child?

Reception is a fun-filled year where your child will literally be transformed from a demi-tod (for Maui fans out there, “you’re welcome”) into a fully-fledged school being. The change in a year is phenomenal; it puts the Very Hungry Caterpillar to shame. It is mind-blowing to think that your child will most likely be reading and writing by the end of the summer term. Some might fill a page. Some might be competition for my next blog. It is unreal and so unbelievably exciting.

If you’re feeling anxious about your child starting school, fear not. The nurture and security of home or nursery environments will continue and although learning will be ramped up a notch, the aim of the curriculum is still a holistic approach to each child as an individual. Your child’s class teacher will take a huge amount of time getting to know your little treasure and will support them to flourish and achieve at a rate that is suitable and personal to them.

Phonics is a huge part of Reception and is enough to make parents want to return to primary school themselves. Your 4 year old won’t be packed off to learn their ABC’s, it’s all about the abc’s which really doesn’t have the same ring to it. Capital letters are a big no no so if you’ve been teaching your child them at home in preparation for school, STOP! There’ll be no damage done but it won’t help them to read and write; in order to do this they need to be able to know what sounds the letters make. Then comes the necessity of ensuring the sounds are pronounced ‘purely’, meaning adding no –uh on the end of a sound for an extra twist of confusion.

In terms of preparing your child for Reception, there is no right or wrong way of doing it. What I would advise, however, is not putting any pressure on them. The aim is for the transition to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible; there is no official entry requirement for state schools. They don’t need to be able to write a thesis, multiply 3 digit numbers and know the value of Pi. The best start they can be given is socially and emotionally. An added bonus is if they can recognise their name and hold a pencil correctly in a tri-pod pencil grip.

It is understandable that for those not in the profession, starting school can seem rather daunting and a step into the world unknown. This is where we can help! My business partner and I are two experienced primary school teachers and mums on a mission to inform as many parents as possible about the English primary school system as well as making you feel more comfortable about the whole thing. We run fun and interactive Primary School Readiness Workshops that will teach you all you need to know about your child starting Reception and what they will learn whilst there.

We are based in South West London and our next workshop is on Wednesday 28thAugust. Contact us at via our social media quoting Zaza’s Storybox for a special discount code.

Don’t forget to look out for a special edition Zaza’s Storybox that has been created specifically for little ones starting school; it has a lovely mix of books in it that will comfort and excite your child about their incredible new journey.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @sweducationalconsultants for information about our workshops and for #teachertuesday where we give away weekly tips about starting school.

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