Questions and Answers
We have compiled some typical questions we get asked and have answered them in as much detail as we can.
Literally the very first thing we do is get them inside the classroom as soon as possible where there is an Aladdin's cave of toys to play with and activities to do. An adult will be in every classroom helping any child that may need some encouragement to find something they love or who just wants to talk or to watch others until they are ready. There will also be an adult at the door of course with a big welcoming smile ready to help them get into the classroom.
As soon as we have everyone, we keep playing for a while until we can sense that the children need a change of pace. So we all tidy up and we show them to the carpet area and do a very informal and quick register practising saying each other's names. After that we take a trip to the toilet and then go and explore our outside areas for about 15mins. We practise stopping for the whistle a couple of times but their ability to line up without fuss as a smaller group is usually impressive and doesn't need practising. We wash our hands/ go to the toilet again and then have our fruit snack; we sit in a circle, chat and eat together... and then we have more 'Let's Choose' time with lots of toys out again- some the same as when they came in, some different. By that time it is almost home time so we sit down for a story, a song and a chat about what we've loved the most about our very first morning/afternoon. We get ready for home time, collecting our water bottles, snack pots, book bag, coat, jumpers and our many stickers and we line up ready to be called to go to our grown up. We will know your child's name and a fair bit about them by the time you pick them up that first time although forgive us if we don't yet instantly match you to your child for a bit!
The next few days go in the same vein with a few more 'learning moments' along the way such as Wonderful Walking, Super 6 Sitting, what does 'safe' look like in school, what is 'star of the day' etc until we have a start of a routine that makes the children feel secure and happy.
We're used to it! Many children will cry at dropping off time at some point in the year as tiredness gets to them or they realise they have to keep coming to this school thing every day!
We will ask you to try to release yourself from them asap and we will help you with this by trying to distract your child with stickers etc in the classroom so you can get out of view quickly. We promise you they will be ok within minutes. We will call as soon as we can to let you know. We do understand how upsetting this can be for all concerned (we deal with it confidently and compassionately but we are not 'hardened' to it and cannot see a time when we will ever be).
Interestingly, we have found it much more settling for children now they leave you at the gate instead of the classroom door. Maybe because they are used to this from pre-school experiences or maybe because this is the routine from day 1?
Indeed it is! From a teacher's point of view we would love it if every parent did the following:
Provide school routine in a morning so children are not late or hungry.
Make sure your child knows who is picking them up on that particular day.
Read to your child every evening. Never stop! (well maybe in their teens if you have to.)
Read with your child for about 10mins every day.
Show interest in their sounds of the week.
Count on and back from 30 when you're in the car, in the bath, walking home, eating peas...
Keep updated with the web page for information.
Read and write in the new Reading Record each week.
Talk to them as much as you can. If they can't say it, they won't read, write, explain for themselves.
Make friends within the year group community, particularly if this is Muscliff child 2 or 3 or...
No ...This year is called the Foundation Stage and with your support will set your child up for the rest of their school life. We will teach them how to behave at school, how to learn at school, how to speak to others at school, how to become independent learners and thinkers at school, how to read, how to write, how to count, add up, take away, learn number facts, understand what a number means, how to hold a pencil with pinch n prop, how to write using cursive handwriting, how to segment words to spell them, how to use scissors, how to get changed independently and manage their toilet needs independently, how to walk through school, how to ask for help, how to ask for a playmate, how to not play with someone they don't want to, how to deal with boisterous games, how to climb, how to catch a ball, how to throw a ball, how to make gymnastic shapes and travel and roll, how to use gardening equipment, how to create an obstacle course, how to use a fireman's pole, how to use our playground equipment, how to get their wellies on and off and not get trousers wet, how to use a whiteboard pen on a whiteboard not their jumper/carpet/friend, how to ask questions, how to answer questions, how to show curiosity about the world we live in, how to talk in front of the whole class, how to listen when someone else is talking, how to share, how to talk when they feel worried/hurt/cross/shy/misunderstood/over-excited..., how to be resilient when things/people don't go their way, how to be determined to be a better reader/writer/mathematician/friend, how to look after school property, how to look after themselves, how to draw more creatively, how to colour in, how to do a puzzle and a board game, how to win gallantly but considerately, how to lose with courage...
And we play and we paint because small children who are 4-5years old need to learn through some play that they chose for themselves and we can facilitate the learning and through some play that we chose they do to promote learning.
As soon as you have got your Tapestry account up and running, you will see the dozens and dozens of assessment judgements the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile requires.
Breakfast club is available. Ask in the Office for details of costs and times.
Wet ones will be dealt with as soon as we know about it and we will discreetly hand you the wet clothes at the end of the day.
Dirty ones may need you to come and clean your child up (for safeguarding and staffing reasons).
We then ask you to wash and return the spare clothes as soon as possible as we have a limited supply of spare pants/trousers/socks etc.
We have PE kit available to order, go to the office for information. Our PE t-shirts are coloured according to their 'house'. Your school pack (when you get it) will give details of the colour.
In the summer term, trainers/plimsolls will be needed for outside PE.
The PE kit will be sent home every half term for a wash.
Yes please. We will use them regularly so that the children can make the most of our outdoor area whatever the weather. That means that they will ALWAYS need a waterproof coat bringing in as well. Named please!
1. There will always be a member of Rainbow staff on our gate in the morning, please tell them.
2. Write a note and train your child to hand it to their teacher/TA as they come in.
You will need to find an alternative person or arrange After School Club provision.
If it is a one-off (e.g. stuck in unexpected traffic), you must phone the office so that we know who else is picking up or to ask us to keep your child for 10minutes. Obviously this cannot be a regular occurrence.
shorts, skirt, pinafore, trousers, joggers.
White polo shirt (not blouses or shirts in Reception)
Muscliff jumper/ cardigan.
That depends on you! We will soon be starting to make labels for cloakroom pegs etc so please let us know if you prefer them to be called something else. Some parents like their child to be called something else but learn to write the long name. Again, that's fine by us as long as we know.
No thank you. They will wear their school shoes (black) during the day.
That's a hard one! 2?
Pop by and see the ridiculous lost property we have to know that if you don't keep on top of the naming of uniform bits, you may not get it back. Every time you wash something, check the name is still clearly visible.
There will, inevitably, be times when another child goes home with the wrong jumper/trousers/shoes ... you name it! But as soon as we/ the parent knows because it is named, we generally get everything back.
We will use paints, chalk, water, have a mud kitchen, be using the gardening area and the outside areas can be muddy/dusty so be prepared. Fortunately we don't expect a pristine uniform after that first morning so don't put that pressure on yourself! Just know that they are having fun whilst learning.
Getting used to new routines and people (big and little ones) is tiring. Also school is different to pre-school/nursery as much as we try to replicate it for this transition, we do not have the same numbers of adults or the same free flow.
We have 5 houses that represent some of our values through school. These houses are led by members of SLT and each member of staff also belongs to a house. Across the school each house has the same number of children and staff. The children can earn 'VIP's for demonstrating consistently good behaviour that is represented by each house (so someone from Kindness house can earn their house a VIP for showing aspirational learning or a curious mind). As a Rainbow we need to teach them our values, the behaviour expectations of being Ready, Respectful, Safe.
The houses are:
I think Mr Andrews explains it all brilliantly in the 'Vision and Value' section in About Us if you'd like more information.
In the meantime, get a coloured round neck t-shirt for PE and get ready to cheer on your house!
Oh isn't it hard to wait!! By the end of the half-term, hopefully everyone will have taken the toy home. We have 3 bears each so there is a rotation. We are hoping to start sending home a bear during the part time weeks. We keep records of who has been the star and when so there is a sense of fairness as well as an earned reward for following the school rules.
This is a big difference between nursery/school- we are unable to get round all of you to give you the kind of 1:1 daily report you may be used to. Take it as 'no news is good news' at the moment! Most days at pick up time, we will try to give a brief shout out of anything of interest in the day and if you would like to have a more personal chat, we are around until 3 most days before our teacher meetings.
The part time weeks allow us to really get to know your child well and be able to motivate them to learn everything they need to start their school life and get the most out of it.