Dear diary

Creating a diary or journal to share with children over the summer can have great benefits when children start school in September

Journals are for parents and children to fill in over the summer break and then for children to be able to share special moments with their teachers in September. Don’t worry - they shouldn’t be great essays – they can act as prompts to help your child to do the talking, expanding on the event and building up confidence to share things with the teachers and their new class friends as they do. Think of them as a ‘snapshot’ like the photos; a short sentence will do.

Perhaps you could build it into an existing routine? Chatting at dinner or bath time about what has happened today or this week. This is a good habit to encourage from the being very young, especially as they go into school, to chat about how their day has been and any worries they might have, in an open and easy manner.

Make mark-making fun

Letting your child see you writing will help them develop an interest in writing, especially if you sound out the words as you go. Whilst not many children can ‘write’ at this age, letting them pretend and have a go at mark making and adding things in the book will support the development of essential early literacy skills.

Sharing relevant information about family and close friends not only helps your teacher learn more about the individual children, it also supports your child’s emotional development, building on those secure attachments and helping them feel connected to home even when they are at school.

Try a mix of photographs and sentences. If your child is with a childminder or in childcare over the summer feel free to ask them to write something in the journal. There is plenty of space for your child to draw pictures and colour in the book too. Don’t feel you have to fill every page… unless you want to!