Whether you're a parent whose child is about to start at school, or a childcare professional, supporting a family to take this next big step, we've got information, support and reassurance to share.
What does being "school ready" mean?
- having strong social skills
- can cope emotionally with being separated from their parents
- are relatively independent in their own personal care
- have a curiosity about the world and a desire to learn.*
* based on previous PACEY research into what childcarers, teachers, parents and children felt "being school ready" really means. The conclusion was that children should have a curiosity about the world and a desire to learn.
Previous research from PACEY shows that almost three quarters (71%) of parents were anxious about their child starting school for the first time in September, with close to half of parents (48%) more anxious than their child about starting school.
The start of a new school term is always exciting - but when it's the transition into "big school" - your child's very first school term, it can feel a little daunting.
We've pulled together some key resources to help you and your child prepare for this new adventure.
If you're a professional childcarer, chances are you've helped send off dozens of little ones to their first days at school. As a childcarer, you're in a great position to not only calm the anxiety that many parents feel at this time, but also to help them prepare with their children to make the most of the first weeks at school and to help create a solid foundation for their future.
My favourite thing about school is...
Factsheets for parents
These factsheets are to help you support your child get ready for school. It's not about the RAW (reading, arithmetic and writing) skills - rather helping children be curious, confident and ready to learn. Download the factsheets by clicking the links below.
We've also shared our top tips for parents over at Netmums.
Getting ready for school
Download our free guide on preparing your child for school for some great tips and hints on helping the next few weeks go smoothly.
You can also download this colourful poster (left) full of top tips.
Dressing to impress
Create a self-portrait of your child all dressed and ready for school. This free downloadable activity sheet not builds excitement for wearing school uniform, but also helps strengthen children's fine motor skills, too.
Download the activity sheet.
See my school
School ready products
We've got some great products in the PACEY shop that will help children prepare for school including:
Magnetic countdown calendar
A colourful, educational magnetic countdown calendar great to help children visualise their journey to starting school.
Find out more
Creative ideas and Craft ideas books
Filled with inspirational activities and great indoor and outdoor fun get your Creative ideas and Craft ideas books here.
Body confidence toolkit - Celebrating me: An Early Years Guide
Celebrating me: An Early Years Guide aims to help early years professionals support children in their care to develop a positive body image – and provide practical ideas to help children feel body confident right from the start.
Want to show the children in your care praise and reward in a fun and colourful way? How about these engaging achievement stickers now available from the PACEY shop?
Find out more
We asked two of our registered childminder members to record the activities they are doing during the last few weeks of the summer holidays. Sue in Cambridgeshire and Georgina in Hampshire are both caring for children about to leave their childcare setting to start school. We're following them to see how childcare professionals, parents and teachers are all working together to support children starting school.
Expert opinion and advice
Penny Tassoni is a well-respected early years expert who has written a number of books on child development. She is also president of PACEY. In these videos, she explores what being school ready means for children, and how practitioners and parents can support this time.
Watch the video for parents here:
Watch the video for childcare professionals here:
Resources for childcarers
If you're caring for children, we've got loads of resources to help you support parents and children through this transition to school. Check out our collection of school-ready specific content in our MyPACEY members' area (log-in required). Not yet a member of PACEY? Join us now.
School readiness blogs
Starting school: a developmental milestone for children and parents - A survey from PACEY found that the majority of parents (71%) are anxious about their child starting school. Here clinical psychologist Dr Virginia Lumsden explores what parents are anxious about, parents' versus child's anxiety and how you can show support in this transition.
Read this fantastic blog from Book Trust that explores what school readiness really means for parents and childcare professionals including the social and emotionall skills they need.
Check out this must-read blog from I CAN that talks about how to support parents and children with the transition to school.
Wrap around care
You can access wrap around care from a number of providers including:
- Childminders - these qualified early years practitioners can offer early drop offs and late pick ups from the childs school.
- After school clubs - this may be accessible at your child's school.
- Holiday schemes - these may be useful during the holiday period however are not usually available during term time.
All after-school provision needs to be registered, either as part of the school it operates in, or with Ofsted or CIW (if operating for over two hours a day in Wales).
Access all our resources for supporting the first year of school and take advantage of our full 'Starting School Together' toolkit today.