Many parents worry about their child starting school for the first time. Many parents think their child needs to know their letters, words and numbers before they start, but this is not the case.

What Does My Child Need to Know?

All children come to school with a wide range of previous experiences and knowledge but are not expected to come to school being able to read, write and add up numbers. Teachers will expect to teach this in school. Your child will receive quality first teaching in the classroom to start them on their learning journey. Their activities will be differentiated according to their needs and they will be taught all of those important academic skills from the curriculum in a fun way. Supporting your child at home then begins to include listening to them read, practising phonic sounds, reading words, practising spellings and helping them with homework activities.

Self-Help Skills

At the beginning of Reception instead of prior academic knowledge, many teachers wish children to know some important self-help skills.

Including how to …

  • Put on their coat and fasten it up.
  • Put their shoes on and off.
  • Get changed into their PE kit and then back into their uniform again.
  • Put on a painting apron.
  • Use cutlery to eat their school dinner.
  • If they have a packed lunch … how to open the boxes.
  • Drink from an open cup.
  • Go to the toilet, wipe and flush.
  • Wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Wipe their nose.
  • Recognise their name written down.

If your child can not do all of the items listed above, the teachers and support staff will happily help them and you will find this will start on the first day. However, there may be just one teacher to a class, or a teacher and a teaching assistant to a full class of pupils. The more time spent on the above means less time in lessons.

The more of these things your child can do the bigger the difference it makes to daily classroom life. It means teachers have more time to teach the curriculum and teach to your child’s interests. Children have more time to learn, play and have fun. If you want to help your child prepare for school and they can’t do the tasks listed above, leave the letters, words and numbers and concentrate on self-help skills, your child’s teacher will thank you for it.