Questions & Answers
We have compiled some typical questions we get asked and have answered them in as much detail as we can.
- What do you do on that very first morning/afternoon session?
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. 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 mood has changed and 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 (again we can sense when it is time to change the activity). We practise stopping for the whistle a couple of times but their ability to line up without fuss as a 15 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...wash our hands/go to the toilet 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 - you guessed it- wash our hands/go to the toilet and 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 zillion 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, 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.
- 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).
Interestingly, we have found it much more settling for children now they leave you at the gate instead of the classroom door (which we used to do those first 2 or 3 days of school pre-Covid). Maybe because they are used to this from pre-school experiences or maybe because this is the routine from day 1? Last year - again- we had Covid restrictions and no parents were allowed into school at all, even for our usual end of June New Parents' meeting and we found our communication via emails, this website and our videos extremely worthwhile in establishing positive partnerships with you and your child as we all want the same thing- a happy child learning the foundations of his forever schooling.
- How much contact will my child in the Rainbows have with other year groups?
If this current academic year is a prediction, very little! We have our own playground area that no other year groups go into; our own classroom base 'wing' that no other year group passes through and our own entry/exit gate. We work up to venturing outside the base for PE in the hall during our part time week and we walk past 2 of the Year 1 classrooms and cloakroom. Sometimes we are silent as mice and listen to the Y6 children (giants who live above us!) moving their chairs as they move around or watch Y3 or Y2 walking wonderfully past our windows on their way to PE on the MUGA. As you can imagine, Covid restrictions have meant that some elements of our curriculum (like going on a Muscliff Mouse Hunt in small groups around the school) have been suspended so we really are in our little bubble of Rainbows. This suits us fine. We get used to being 1 of 15, then 1 of 30, then 1 of 90. We believe in small steps make for great self-confidence in their immediate world.
- 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.
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...
- 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!
- What time does school start and finish when they are full time?
20th September: Gates will be opened 8.30 and closed at 8.45.
School finishes at 3.00. Gates will be open at 2.50 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)
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 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.