Nurseries forge links with teachers in drive for school readiness
Monday, November 14, 2011
Early years settings are responding to the Government's focus on 'school readiness' by building better links with schools and putting more emphasis on helping children to develop their independence skills.
Foundations for Learning, a chain of six nurseries based in Greater Manchester and east London, has contacted each school that its children have gone on to attend, to arrange a meeting with the reception teacher and a catch-up with the child in their new environment.
The chain's area manager Mel Blades said, 'Some schools have embraced our proposals to work together to ensure that the child has the smoothest possible transition. We have already been welcomed into six schools and we have appointments to attend ten more this month.
'Whatever we can do to prepare them - whether it be on a practical level or on an emotional level - we want to do it. And the only way to confirm if we are doing things right is to speak to the next link in the chain: the teacher.'
During the visit, the pre-school room leader meets with the child in the classroom, where they have an opportunity to talk to the child about what they have been doing and show them their drawings or what they like to play with. The leader also has a chat with the teacher to find out how the child has settled, asking for feedback on specific areas such as social interaction, independence, self-care and self-help skills that the nursery worked on. The intention is to see if they have contributed positively to a smooth transition.
Ms Blades said, 'We've already had some very positive feedback. One school, which took five of our children, said that the children are confident, have very well-developed social skills and they are very much in a learning mode. They commended us on our detailed transition documents, commenting that they are informative and true to character.'
However, different schools can have different approaches and expectations, said Ms Blades. 'Some schools seem so focused on conformity that they are clouding the "unique child" aspect,' she said.
Foundations for Learning has already used feedback from local schools to develop children's independence skills. 'We identified several issues that occurred in the first six to eight weeks of school,' said Ms Blades. 'Since then, we teach children to put on their own coats and shoes and change into their PE clothes for our weekly Movement to Music lesson.
'We've also introduced self-service at mealtimes so that children get used to the concept of choice.'
- See part 2 of our series on School Readiness, pages 15-18.