Questions & Answers
We have compiled some typical questions we get asked and have answered them in as much detail as we can.
- I wasn't able to pick up my welcome pack so didn't book a 1:1 meeting. What should I do?
Get in touch in September. We can arrange a time for you to enter the school office and pick up the pack and your 1:1 meeting time will be in the pack along with details of when your child is (hopefully!) starting school (morning or afternoon week 1). The office and school will be open on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th September.
- What are the houses?
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. From y1 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 and how to generally be at Muscliff school so we do not earn VIPs, we just learn to understand them. It is a very exciting part about going to Y1 to get those coloured tokens and drop them in the box!
The houses are:
Kindness - green
Curiosity - orange
Responsibility - yellow
I think Mr Andrews explains it all brilliantly in the Vision and Values 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!
- When will I find out about my child's Reception class and teacher?
Normally we would invite you to a New Parents' Meeting in the last week of June and present you with all the initial information you need regarding your child starting school. However, due to Covid-19, it is taking a great deal longer to gather the information from nurseries and childminders and we also have to await government guidelines. We hope that we will be able to send you as much information as possible in the first week of July. We anticipate the start of September looking potentially different to normal, however, if you go back to the home page and click on Parents- Term dates, you will have the details of half term and end of term holidays. We sent you a welcome email on Thursday 14th May so if you did not receive this please call our school office (01202 549654 9-3) this week so you don't miss anymore information. In the meantime, the below questions and answers should give you lots of information.
- How can I be a part of my child's education as much as possible? School is so important!
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.
Do their word box every day (more about this in our curriculum meeting).
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.
Join our MPA, even if you can't make the meetings, your help will be appreciated.
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...
- My child does full time at nursery. Why can't he start full time straightaway?
We understand. But... your full time nursery choice is about childcare (fab childcare we have no doubts); school is not. Another difference is that at nursery they often have the ratio of 6 children to 1 adult. In school it will be 30 children to 1 teacher. This takes some getting used to - for you and your child! As a working mother I found it a real challenge dealing with part time hours and then it was part time until January! It was only a few years ago that it changed from part time in November. As educators, we know that the most learning is done when the children are happy and settled. For some children they settle really quickly, others take ages. Imagine the disruption to the class if some children were going home at lunchtime and some weren't- how would we decide what was 'less important' to teach because some would be missing it? This is one of the reasons that holidays in school time has been a government initiative that we have had to adhere to- the repercussions of the time they miss can be massive.
The part time weeks are the basis of the whole year. We will be building that crucial relationship with your child - you are the first educator, you want to know that the second educator is in the best place they can be for your child's learning. Having 15 little bodies for half a day at a time allows us to do this. Everyone is then ready for the onslaught of full time. Our experience informs us that this is the best way to get your child ready for school. My advice: do not underestimate the exhaustion your child will feel during that first term (and beyond!) at some point.
- Is the reception year all about painting and playing?
No otherwise we'd be called a playgroup or some other such valuable resource. 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 yes 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. Painting is not specifically on there!
- Where do I drop off my child each day?
Because of Covid-19, you will drop your child off at one of the large green car park gates by our playground. Teachers will be standing at their outside classroom door to welcome your child. (See video 2)
- Where do I pick up my child ?
Exactly where you dropped off.
- What time does school start and finish when they are full time?
Normally: The gate will be opened at 8.30 am closed at 8.45 am.
School finishes at 3.15pm.
This September: Gates will be opened 8.45 and closed at 9.00.
School finishes at 2.45. Gates will be open at 2.45 and closed at 3pm.
(because Y6 will be using that area for pick up and drop off as well and we have to reduce congestion and mixing of bubbles.)
- Can I drop my child off earlier than 8.30am?
Breakfast club is available. Ask in the Office for details of costs and times.
- What does my child need to bring to school every day?
Named snack pot (containing raw veg/fruit only)
Named water bottle (water only, no juice/squash)
Named book bag and Reading Record (we will put one in the book bags each week.)
Named coat, jumper or cardigan
Named pencil case (colouring pencils, sharpener)
- Will you toilet train my child?
Unfortunately no as we would need the 2 members of classroom staff and with 30 lovely little ones, you can imagine the scenes in and out of the toilet area!
- What happens if they have a toilet accident?
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 (again, 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.
- What PE kit will my child need?
We have PE kit available to order, go to the office for information or check the email we sent 18th June. 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.
We will mostly have PE on Tuesday and Friday mornings.
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!
- How will I tell you who is picking up my child?
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. (Maybe they could practise by handing notes to an adult when visiting family/friends.)
- What do I do if I am not going to be able to pick my child up by exactly 3.00 each day?
You will need to find an alternative person or arrange After School Club provision.
If it is a one-off (i.e. 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.
- Should I be teaching my child to write their name or read?
No. Recognising their (full) name would be a great start and they should have had quite a lot of hearing sounds at pre-school which is vital to picking up reading more quickly but we will be teaching them to write their name in cursive writing not print so sometimes this can feel like 'unlearning' what they know and be a barrier. Just read to them LOTS and engage them in the book. Do lots of counting. But basically, talk, talk, talk (and practise dressing and undressing and using the toilet!)
- What do I (and you) do if my child is crying when I drop them off?
We're used to it! Most 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 ) .
- Is the uniform blue/black/grey?
Definitely not black or grey!
Navy shorts, skirt, pinafore, trousers, joggers.
White polo shirt (not blouses or shirts)
Muscliff jumper, cardigan.
- My child usually uses a short name. Will they learn to write that or their long name?
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.
- Do I need to send slippers in?
Not this year thanks.
- How many jumpers should I buy?
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.
- Will my child come home really dirty after a day at school?
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.Take a look at the new display in the corridor in September which will illustrate exactly what dirty can look like in a day in the life of..!
- Why is my child so tired? They are used to full time nursery!
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.
- When will my child be star of the day?
Oh isn't it hard to wait!! By the end of the half-term, hopefully everyone will have taken the toy home. 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. We are trying to find creative ways around the star of the day toy because of Covid-19 safety guidelines.
- When will I hear about how my child is doing?
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 3.30 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.