Early Years Calendar – Back to School Week 1st September 2021
The first week of September brings much excitement and perhaps some apprehension. Many children are starting school for the first time or are heading back to school after a long summer break. Either way, there are lots of things to discuss and learn about this week, planting the seeds for a successful school year.
There is also much for young pre-school children to learn about this week. Whether your nursery has been closed for the summer or you have stayed open throughout, there are many ways ‘Back to School Week’ can be enjoyed in nurseries this September.
Here are That Nursery Life’s top picks:
Explore: “What is School?”
Some pre-schoolers will already be aware of school, particularly those with older siblings already attending primary or secondary education. For others, the idea of school might be a brand-new concept. By holding a group discussion about school and why it is so important, children can begin to understand what they will experience this time next year.
There is no need to wait until the term before they leave for school to begin these discussions. The more time they have to get familiar with the idea, the more likely they are to settle quickly into their new school environment.
“Who Goes to School?”
Ask the children about their siblings, cousins and friends that already go to school. See if they can identify key activities that they do at school, or if they can name the school. This opens up doors to other activities (listed below).
Practitioners are also encouraged to discuss their own experiences of school, explaining it in ways children will understand. For example, “I remember having lots of fun learning all about computers when I was at school.”
“What Happens at School?”
Use visual cards to outline key parts of the daily routine at nursery, for example register, phonics, free play, snack, garden, lunch. If possible, do the same for an average day at school, lying them out side by side so children can make a visual comparison. This exercise helps children understand just how similar routines are between nursery and reception, helping them feel less anxious about the transition.
“Where Might Your School Be?”
Print out a map and photos of local schools which the children are likely to attend. Using the photos, children can point out the things that they might like about the schools. Ensure your nursery is marked on the map, this way the local schools can also be added, and children can see how close or far away they might be.
This can then extend into a discussion about how they will get to school. Some will walk, others will need to use varying modes of transport.
Explore similarities and differences.
Again, use images, items or visual cards of nursery items and routines, such as snack time, story time, cars, trains, nappies, toilet, teacher, school bag. Encourage the children to identify if they are things that ‘do’ or ‘do not’ happen at school, putting them into one of two piles. This will give children a visceral experience of how similar nursery and school will be, again, helping them grow in confidence. Adding in new items such as ‘uniform’ and ‘assembly’ is also recommended.