Sunday, 20 July 2014

'Effective transitions' Part 3 - Reception (Guest post!)

Guest poster: 
BakingMadMummy is an avid blogger and outstanding Reception class teacher in a large primary school in Bradford. She has been teaching in Reception for 9 years and continues to provide outstanding opportunities for her class each and every year.

You can visit her blog here and her twitter here. Enjoy!

Transition – My Top Tips! 

July is a funny time of year. Teachers are cream crackered, shattered, exhausted, absolutely ready to drop! (Well I am!!) We’re winding down with our current class, but then we’re expected to be excited and on top form, ready for our new class! This is especially important when you teach in reception.

Your new children aren’t just meeting a new teacher or moving into a new classroom, quite often they’re moving into a new building, a whole new setting – “Big School” It’s scary, they’re taken out of their comfort zone of nursery and suddenly thrust into a whole new experience. It’s taken a few years, but the school I work at is pretty good at transition between nursery and reception. Here are my top tips for a tip top transition!!

#1 Small Group Visits -The key workers in nursery bring a small group of children over every day, just before lunch or before home time. We’re usually looking at good work and giving stickers or reading a story. The nursery children come and sit with the class, it’s a lovely quiet time and the children can just sit quietly and just watch. Even the shyest of children aren’t expected to do anything. 

#2 Visit the Children in Nursery – Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, I try to go over a few times and “show my face” and talk to the children about what they’re doing. This way, when they meet me as their teacher – they’ve seen me before, I’m a familiar face!

#3 Class Book – We make a little book for the children, in child speak. It has a picture of the class teacher, and the EYP as well as any other adults in the class, then pictures of the different areas in the class. The children love this and we have copies in nursery and the children are all given a copy to take home.

#4 Talk to the Keyworkers – Obvious I know! Transition isn’t just about what the children can or can’t do – it’s about finding out about the little things – what the children are interested in, who they’re friends with, little habits they’ve got. Knowing things like these can be invaluable in September if they find it hard to settle in the first couple of days.

#5 Visits with Parents – The children come from our school nursery and 2 outside nurseries. We visit the outside nurseries a couple of times (as we visit our own school nursery) but we also have a couple of sessions where parents bring their children for a visit to the classroom. We dispatch an EYP onto the school field with a group of reception children, so the classroom isn’t overflowing and too intimidating. We talk to the children and get to know them a bit and they can get to know us and the room, but with the comfort of their parents being there. During the next visit, if children seem settled, parents disappear into the library – close enough if a child panics, but far away enough to give them some independence. 

#6 Trial Lunchtimes – Some children will have never stayed for lunch in their setting and this can be scary. We invite parents to bring the children for lunch. We have an early lunch so that the new children aren’t intimidated by any older children and they get the opportunity to have a school lunch. We go through the whole routine from washing hands, getting a tray and cutlery, to choosing what they would like to eat, before carrying their tray to a table, sitting down and actually eating. This gives us teachers a sneaky peek as well into who can eat independently with a knife and fork and who might be a picky eater!

#7 Visits Without Parents – Once my class have gone to see their year 1 teacher, I go to nursery and collect my new children. We walk over to main school talking about what we can see and what happens in the different areas of school then they get the opportunity to play in the classroom. They can investigate the provision and we get to know them whilst they play. We usually end with a story and lots of positive praise and of course, some stickers!

All these things have worked and we have a really positive, yet quite relaxed transition process into reception, resulting in a less chaotic start in September.

Happy Holidays and Good Luck with those new starters in September!!

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