Supporting Caitlyn's school ready transition

Georgina Jones is an outstanding childminder in Hampshire. She has been looking after Caitlyn for three years. Here she talks us through her time with Caitlyn preparing for school.

Week One

Caitlyn dresed up in red arrows outfit with magazineCaitlyn had her second school visit today. After dressing up in the Red Arrows red suit I asked her if she knew about the Red Arrows. Caitlyn replied yes, "I'm going to their school." She then engaged in some pretend play using planes and helicopters - an air show with her two friends aged 2 and 3.

She came to my house today with a Farnborough Air show magazine to show us, I read it with her. I then asked her about real school.  She said "let me think... oh yeah, we played with shapes, it was stay and play."
We talked about if she had painted, Caitlyn replied no, but said there was someone there crying and she didn't know their name. Ah, I think she was a little concerned!

opposites puzzleThe next activity covered understanding the world, literacy, communication and language and personal, social and emotional development.

Caitlyn then played with the opposite cards with her friends – a communication and language activity. She matched up most by herself by looking at the pictures and colours.

Caitlyn playing with sandAfter a picnic lunch in the garden, she asks to play in the sand.  She holds the funnel and scoops up sand, pouring it into a milk bottle top.  I ask her if she can remember what the white thing is called. She replies "a fubble." I whisper to her, "it's a funnel".

"Oh yeah" Caitlyn replies smiling. Caitlyn told me that she's making a magic potion, "a love potion." We both laugh.

After sand and water play, Caitlyn reads a book 'Polar bear what do you see’. She has a word of the week, an idea from her mother.  This week it's 'do'. Caitlyn reads the book to her friends, they really enjoy this and she only asked for help when she got stuck on certain animals in the story - the leopard, walrus and flamingo! Wow!

Caitlyn reads the book almost word perfect from memory but recognises some words from her words of the week. She makes up the next animal's activity if she can't remember.

She turns the page to look at the next animal so that she knows what comes next - brilliant work!

Caitlyn reading animals bookI read this blog to Caitlyn and she likes it. Her friends listen.  She picks out the word ‘a’, Caitlyn says the letter ‘a’ then the sound ‘a’. Clever girl I say.

She asks me what I am doing and I explain: "writing a blog about you going to school and taking some photos of activities.” I ask her if this is ok with her, she replies. “Yes of course.” This activity involves literacy, communication and language.

Then she takes herself off to the toilet and doesn't ask me for help. She washes her hands and comes back quickly for play. This demonstrates her physical development, health and self-care. 

Caitlyn is a very happy and confident girl. She will flourish at school, but I will miss her a lot!

Week Two

Caitlyn sensory playCaitlyn came back from a week off. She enjoyed the morning in the den with sensory toys and in the ball pool with a friend finding the coloured balls that I asked for. She knew all of the colours (EAD).

I informed her that the cafe snack bar was closing soon she rang the bell, that informs me of a customer. She used the hand gel under my supervision, chose a biscuit from the crackers and biscuits and a banana. We added up 1+1 = 2.

Caitlyn pouring milkCaitlyn then poured out her own milk and told me she would tell her mummy that she had done this. After a snack she put her cup and bowl into my sink ready for washing up. These activities include maths, PSED, communication and language, P.D. health and self care.

She came out into the garden and we pulled up some carrots that we planted and watered for months. I showed Caitlyn how to pull up the ones ready with orange peeping through soil.  She liked this and asked for a basket to put them into. I told her that they will need washing and the guinea pigs can eat the green tops (UW).

Caitlyn measuring sunflowersWe then measured some sunflowers, recorded this on our chart and on the patio with chalk. Now the tallest is 44 inches! I offered Caitlyn a chair to reach the top with the tape measure and we used a ruler when it was shorter. Caitlyn said "I don't need a chair, “I'll stretch up". These skills include maths, C&L and UW.

We walked to the bank before visiting the duck pond to feed the ducklings. Caitlyn always fills in a bank slip, she writes numbers on it 1-4. 

Caitlyn writing her nameWe practise this with the chalk book. Caitlyn can recognise lots of numbers up to 20 and recite and write them too. She matches objects to the number and draws lines to match them up on our chalk book. These show Literacy and Maths skills.

At the end of the day Caitlyn writes and draws in her book that we've made using her literacy skills. I draw a line and ask her to write her name smaller on the line. She amazes me with her fantastic school ready skills, well done Caitlyn. I'm so proud of her and will miss her so much when she starts at infant school. I know that the other children will miss her too.

Week 3

school ready yellow bagWe have been busy. Talking about Caitlyn's teachers names and all about school uniform. Caitlyn coloured in the Pacey worksheets to the colour of her new uniform. She's a bit worried about trying it on so I've asked her mother to bring it in so that I can maybe help. I encourage Caitlyn to show her friends her pictures.

Caitlyn cuts out and glues on her uniform in the picture. She then calls my name and hands me the scissors correctly‎ by handing me them handles facing me. I am very impressed. I praise her.

This is Caitlyn's ready for school pictures all coloured in. She is very excited about the yellow school bag. She hasn't got one yet, but I would like to buy this for her as a gift.

shoe play with CaitlynThe next day we played shoe shops using a tape measure, looking at numbers. Finding the matching shoes in the correct size. We fitted them in boxes, wrapping with tissue paper. We also used till and money. Also Caitlyn writes a receipt. This uses skills L, CL, PD and M.

Caitlyn then showed her school readiness using her knife and fork today. This shows PD skills and PSED. 

Week 4

I showed Caitlyn the PACEY Ready for School worksheets on uniform.  She couldn't wait to get started on colouring in, cutting out and gluing on the clothes in her uniform colours. Her friends wanted to do this too – one is only 2 and a half.

Caitlyn school uniform worksheetThey all enjoyed this activity, a three year old and a five and a half year old took part.  I felt proud to watch them busy at the table, ah. This activity used EAD, PD, and L skills.

We then measured the old sunflowers again, 61 inches now! I'm glad that it has flowered before start of school for the children to see.

I collected Caitlyn from school today for the first time. Maybe the last as her mum’s job is part time. I nearly cried saying her name to the teacher and choked back tears in case parents saw me. They may not understand how I feel. Luckily it was sunny and I had my sunglasses on.

Caitlyn stay and playIt was stay and play. She spoke of a new friend Ben. Not our Ben, a different Ben she explained to me. This used C&L and PSED skills.

Caitlyn choose a bowling party for her leaving party. Off we went on the bus with her friends. I helped them, risk assessing as we went along. They all choose the different balls by colours. It was a long game but plenty of fun – wore me out a bit! We then stopped for toileting and had Slush Puppie drinks (coffee for me). I will sleep well tonight. I think that they all will too.  

bowling georgina and caitlynCaitlyn came second. They all took a score sheet home, and looked at all of the numbers talking about who won, all saying that they won and laughing. Ah. I told them that are all winners to me. This used C&L, M and PD skills.

Caitlyn's mum has asked if I can meet her to join her to take Caitlyn to school on her first day next week. Of course I said yes, I can't wait.  

I bought Caitlyn a gift today, her yellow school book bag.  She loves it and didn't let go of it apart from when bowling.