September is a very exciting time for all of the Early Years children in TEACH Trust. Time to start 'big' school, make new friends, be inspired and learn new things everyday! In order to make the transition to school an enjoyable experience for all of the children, as well a reassuring experience for all of the parents and carers, we organise a range of successful transition activities and events.
The Infant Schools within TEACH Trust work very closely with the local nursery and preschool settings, and we meet with them regularly throughout the year. These meetings provide us with the opportunity to continually improve the transition to school, and to ensure that we are all working together to provide the children with the best possible provision. In the summer term, the nurseries and preschools set up a school role play area, where the children can practise putting on their new school uniforms, and there are lots of opportunities to talk about going to 'big' school. We provide all nurseries and preschools with a 'passport' to school. The passport has photographs of the classrooms, the gate into school and the teachers, so that they can look at the pictures and ask questions about school.
During the summer term, we also receive transition documents for all of the children, and these are shared with the class teachers and pastoral team. The Early Years Leader, and other members of school staff, arrange to visit the children in local settings. For any settings not visited, we always make contact via the telephone to find out about the child, in detail.
When school places have been confirmed, we invite parents and carers to a 'Welcome to Early Years' evening where they are able to see their classroom and class teachers. The following week, the children are invited into school to attend two morning 'stay and play' sessions where they get to spend time with their new teachers and friends. It is an exciting time for staff at school and the children starting school!
Once the children have come to school for their 'stay and play' sessions, September soon appears! For a four year old (and their parents), the summer holidays can seem like a lifetime, being constantly asked if it's school today and trying on their new uniform over and over again! Before the children start school in September, we organise a home visit for every child. At this visit, the class teacher and teaching assistant visits the children in their home and gets to find out all about them. This is a very important part of our transition to school, and the staff love visiting their new class and families.
For the weeks following the home visits, the children attend staggered visits to school. These start with a short small group visit where the children can really get to know their new environment, friends and routines. The children then attend as a whole class and stay for lunch, and then everyone is in for the whole day. Through this successful staggered entry to school, the children settle quickly and happily begin their journey into school life! Seeing the children coming through the gates in the morning is a wonderful sight, huge smiles and laughter, as they rush down the path to class!
We are extremely proud of our excellent transition into 'big' school. If your child attends an infant school within our Trust, we are confident that they will settle quickly and love coming to school!
The First Day of School – A poem from our teachers to our parents and carers
I gave a reassuring smile,
As you entered my room today.
For I know how hard it is to leave,
When your children must stay.
You've been with them for four years now,
And have been a loving guide,
But now, alas, the time has come,
To leave them at my side.
Just know that as you drive away,
And tears down your cheek may flow,
I'll guide them as I would my own,
And help them to learn and grow.
So please put your mind at ease,
And cry those tears no more,
For I will protect and nurture them,
When you leave them at my door.