PTA UK, the largest membership body for Parent and Teacher Associations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland has launched its ‘Be School Ready’ campaign to provide parents, carers and children with both the practical and emotional support needed to help families get off to a good start to life at ‘big’ school.
PTA UK carried out a Parent Survey in 2015 and found that nearly a third (29%) of respondents said they did not receive all the support they needed when their child joined school. The ‘Be School Ready’ campaign was created in response to the feedback received and aims to demonstrate how parental participation in education can support children’s learning and help them to achieve their potential.
Be School Ready provides both practical and emotional support for mums, dads, carers and children through a series of resources including Welcome Packs which were distributed to 100,000 families via 1,667 school PTAs. Mums and dads start school too, and PTA UK has provided lots of inspiration on how they can get involved and feel part of this new community.
Content from the Welcome Packs is included online on the campaign page www.pta.org.uk/BeSchoolReady which features advice; celebrity parenting tips and exclusive prizes and offers. There is also a downloadable activity pack, blogs and a quiz as well as exclusive healthy after-school snack ideas from Celebrity Masterchef’s Kimberly Wyatt and Bake Off’s Nadiya Hussain, such as:
Apple and Peanut Rings – core and horizontally slice a green apple; spread the tops with smooth peanut butter and eat straight away.
Houmous Celery Sticks – cut slices of celery sticks about 2 inches long. Fill the inside with houmous and serve.
Summer Fruit Spring Rolls – take a circle of rice paper and soak for a few seconds until soft. Squeeze off any excess water and place down. Add any fruit (the more colourful the better) and wrap like a spring roll.
Other top tips shared among parents and which early years providers can support, include:
- Preparing children in advance by borrowing a book from the library about going to school and reading it together or letting children wear their new uniform at home, practising putting it on and taking it off.
- Encouraging independence by making sure children can use the toilet by themselves, put on their shoes and hold their cutlery properly.
- Getting to know and socialising with the school before the start of term. Go to school meetings and arrange or attend gatherings in the summer to get to know some of the other families starting at the same time. Parents could share information with childminders and encourage them to attend some events, particularly if they are going to manage pick-up and drop-off arrangements.
- Being patient and trying not to get competitive! Children learn at different speeds and it’s important to help children in a way that works specifically for them.
Childminders and pre-schools should actively support parents during this time of change and indeed, many nursery schools invite Primary School teachers into their setting so children can get to know their Reception Year teachers. In establishing this close working relationship between parents, pre-school childcare providers and schools, children will be given the support that’s right for them to be independent and inquisitive, adventurous and curious, or enthusiastic and reassured about the next phase of their education.
Pre-school care providers have an important role to play in getting children ready for school. Membership of PTA UK is open to pre-school parent and staff groups and our members receive information and advice on a range of issues relating to children’s education and learning environments.
For further information about PTA UK’s Be School Ready campaign with tips and advice on how carers,
parents and children can prepare for the move to primary school or to read blogs from parents and carers about starting school as well as a range of other topics, visit www.pta.org.uk/beschoolready.
About the author
Emma has been Executive Director of PTA UK since October 2013. In that time she has delivered a new and ambitious strategy for the organisation to develop the PTA model in schools and reach out and engage with parents on broad education issues. As a mother and step-mother of four children, Emma is passionate about giving parents a voice in education both at a national and local level.
Discover PACEY's school ready resources here.