Transition to FS2
The HarringTen Steps to School Readiness
Over the next few weeks, we will be sending you some simple ideas to support your child with their transition to school – The HarringTEN Steps to School Readiness. There are 10 steps in total and we will be sending a new one for you each week (on a Monday). Each day we will also suggest an activity that will support you with this step, this will be through Class Dojo and on here. We hope you will find the activities useful but please do ask any questions you may have.
If your child is not due to start School in September, please don’t worry about completing the activities. Feel free to contact us and we can suggest other things that may be suitable for their current age and stage of development.
Step Ten - Meal Times
This week’s HarringTEN step to school readiness is all about meal times. Throughout the week we would particularly like your child to practise using a knife and fork. This will help prepare them to be independent at meal times when at school. If your child will be packed lunches, encourage your child to practise opening different packets.
Monday – Listen to the story of ‘The tiger who came to tea’. Talk to your child about the different events in the story – can they tell you something that happened? You could even bake a biscuit or a cake for the Tiger who came to tea. Encourage your child to do as much as possible themselves - measuring, mixing or rolling out the mixture. Follow this link to listen to the story -
Tuesday – Today at meal times, encourage your child to help you set the table. This is also a great opportunity to talk to your child about the different purposes of cutlery e.g. a knife to cut. You could even count how many of each item you need to make sure everyone has one of everything.
Wednesday – Today, encourage your child to help prepare a meal. If they are helping at breakfast time, let your child spread their own toast, bagel, muffin or crumpet with a topping of their choice. If they are struggling, model how to load the knife and spread but then allow them to keep trying.
If helping at dinner time, talk to your child about the names of the ingredients you are using. You could even involve them in washing and preparing the vegetables – children love chopping with their own knife (child friendly of course).
Ask your child to help pour the drinks at mealtimes, this is a great opportunity to talk to them about full, empty, half full. You could place the drinks on a tray and see if they can carry them to the table without spilling or dropping any.
Thursday – Today when offering your child a snack, use it as an opportunity to offer different choices. If possible, add as much language as you can as this will help to extend your child’s vocabulary e.g. would you like a juicy orange or a crunchy apple?
Friday – Today, make sandwiches with your child and have a carpet picnic with their favourite toy / teddy. Allow them to do as much as possible for themselves, butter the bread, choose and put in their filling and allow them to cut their sandwich in half with a blunt knife. Talk to them, giving short, simple instructions as they do it. Remember to praise them lots as they learn new skills.
Step Nine - Routines
This week’s HarringTEN is all about preparing your child for starting school and practising the routines they will do on a daily basis.
Monday - Bedtime routine – Ensure you have a good bedtime routine in place for your child. Having a bath, reading a bedtime story and ensuring they are in bed early.
Tuesday - Morning routine – Having spent a long time at home in the holidays, you may find you have relaxed your morning routine. Ensure you have a few practises of getting up at the time they will need to on a school day, having breakfast and dressing themselves.
Wednesday – Meal times has been a previous HarringTEN step to school readiness but it is such an important skill that it will need revisiting. Ensure you spend time encouraging your child to use a knife, fork and spoon themselves and if they are packed lunch, how to open packets (although this is still a really important skill for all children to have).
Thursday – Talk to your child’s school or visit their website to see if they have a structure for their school day and familiarise your child with this. If possible, use pictures or photographs to support your conversations. Some of the most common activities that children are likely to need to talk about are getting ready for school, travelling to school, play/learning time, playtime, snack, lunchtime, hometime.
Friday – Practise the walk to school with your child, encouraging them to walk the whole way (try to avoid carrying/putting your child in a pushchair so that they can develop their stamina). On you walk, talk to your child about the importance of road safety. Model how to cross the road safely, listening for traffic, waiting for the green man and holding hands. If your child’s school isn’t within walking distance, park a few streets away and practise these skills anyway.
Step Eight - Physical skills
This week’s HarringTEN step to school readiness is all about Physical Development. Being active is vital for children’s health and physical development. It is also critical for their well-being, social and language development, reading and writing skills and their sense of themselves in relation to the world around them. Essentially, physical development is the key that unlocks all learning! So get moving and have lots of fun!
Monday – Listen to the story of “The Animal Boogie” read by Phil. Follow this link for the story.
Encourage your child to copy the actions of the different animals in the story. You can also follow this link below to a musical version of the story – get dancing! Whilst exercising and moving to the music, talk to your child about the effects of exercise on their body, do they feel warmer? Is their heart beating faster? You could even talk about the importance of exercise.
Tuesday – Today have a try at making some musical instruments. You can create these really easily by filling empty boxes or plastic bottles with a small amount of dried pasta, rice or lentils. Sellotape the top or screw the lid back on and shake, shake, shake. You could even decorate your shakers with different materials. Wherever possible, encourage your child to cut (with child friendly scissors) and stick the materials they are using independently.
You could even listen to the musical version of the Animal Boogie again and move in time to the music whilst playing your own instrument. You could move by stomping, creeping, or slithering like the different animals.
Wednesday – Today is Talk Derby day, a celebration of speech, language and communication – the skills children and we all need to succeed in life.
We need you to talk as much as you can about our story “The Animal Boogie”. Can the children tell you something that happened in the story? Which animal is their favourite? Why is it their favourite? Have a look at the illustrations in the book (or the ones on this post) and encourage your child to talk about the different animals. It can be as simple as how the animal moves, what it sounds like or what it looks like. Does it have a pattern? What colours can you see? You could even challenge your child to create a story of their own using different or the same animals. This doesn’t need to be a written story – it can be something you could talk about together.
Thursday - Set up an obstacle course using different objects in the garden – challenge your child to travel under the obstacle like a snake , climb over like a bear and crawl through like a tiger . Time your child as they move from one end to the other – can they beat their time? You could even try it with brothers and sisters and have a mini competition!
Friday - Watch and Listen to the story ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’. Put on your favourite music and dance, dance , dance like nobody’s watching - just Like Gerald the Giraffe! If you have some ribbons or scarves handy, use these to dance with, waving them up high and down low, fast and slow, round and round.
Step Seven - Self Help Skills
Monday am - This week’s HarringTEN Step to School Readiness focusses on encouraging your child’s self-help and independence skills. As children move to FS2 they will need to become increasingly independent, especially when dressing and undressing for PE and putting on their own coat for outdoor play. Mrs Oliver has a fun story to share with you to kick start the week. Follow this link -
Monday pm - At bedtime, encourage your child to get themselves undressed and put on their own pyjamas. Arrange your child’s clothes on the bed or back of a chair in the order they need to be put on. Talk to them about putting their head in items of clothing first, followed by their arms. This is a good opportunity to model prepositional language such as putting their top over their head.
Tuesday - Today, whilst getting dressed/undressed, talk to your child about the importance of asking adults for help if they need it. This will increase their confidence in asking unfamiliar adults or even children for help when they go to a new setting. Does your child know who to ask and how to ask for help?
Wednesday - Today’s challenge is to purposefully turn some of your children’s clothes inside out. Encourage your child to work through solving this problem and show them how to turn the clothes the right way – especially how to turn sleeves back the right way. Ensure you praise their efforts.
Thursday – Today, practise using different fastenings such as zips or Velcro. This will help your child for putting on and zipping their own coat and for fastening/unfastening their own shoes. It would also be beneficial to practise taking off and putting on shoes and socks (we would recommend buying shoes with Velcro as these are really easy for children to put on/take off).
Friday - Provide fun dressing up clothes for your child to experiment with from princess dresses and uniforms to ‘real’ clothing, including hats and footwear. Provide a big mirror so that they can see themselves. What funny outfits can they make? Model the use of vocabulary, such as undress, dress, top, bottoms etc.
Step Six - Self-Regulation
This week’s HarringTEN step to school readiness is all about self-regulation. Self-regulation refers to the ability to control our impulses. When we self-regulate, we can stop doing something even if we don’t want to and we can start to do something that is required of us even if we would rather not. It also involves children being able to talk about and regulate their emotions.
Monday – Listen to the story of ‘The Colour Monster’ read by Phil.
Talk to your child about the different emotions that the colour monster has in the book. Can they identify times when they have felt like the colour monster? What did they do to help themselves feel better?
Tuesday - Blow some bubbles with your child but tell them they have got to wait for you to say their name before being able to pop them. Increase the length of time you expect them to wait to make this more challenging. This game will help your child learn to wait, listen carefully and follow instructions.
Wednesday - Run, stop, come back. When on the park or in your garden tell your child to run in the open space. Explain that when you say stop, they must do so straight away. Then encourage them to run back to you. Repeat this a number of times until your child is able to stop immediately on request. This game will help your child learn to wait. listen and follow instructions.
Thursday – There are two versions of the ‘Shake and Stop’ game we play in nursery so feel free to choose which one works best for you and your child.
Game 1 – Use the shakers you made in our previous week’s HarringTEN steps to schools readiness and whilst listening to the song on the following link, encourage your child to shake and stop in time with the music.
Game 2 – Use an old blanket and soft toys to shake and stop on request as demonstrated in the video on the following link. You can make this game trickier by increasing the times you say shake and stop, this will support your child’s listening skills.
Friday - Play games such as frustration, snakes and ladders, lotto, snap, twister etc.
Any games which encourage turn taking , waiting and also practising not always coming first. Talk to your child about how to manage their feelings when they don’t have a turn first or when they lose and how to manage this in a controlled manner.
Step Five - Early Maths
This week’s HarringTEN step to school readiness is all about Early Maths. Maths is very complex and doesn’t just involve saying numbers out loud. We need to develop children’s understanding of why we count and what the numbers we say out loud actually look like with real objects.
Monday - Provide your child with some empty egg boxes. Can they count different amounts of counters/marbles/bottle tops/little toys or anything else you can find into the boxes one by one. You could either do this by asking your child to count a certain amount into the boxes or by showing them the numeral. Encourage your child to say a number name for each item they place in the box and reinforce that the last number name they say is the total (How many they have altogether).
Tuesday - Play a variety of games with your child that use a dice. Encourage your child to count the spots as they roll the dice. To really challenge them, you could encourage your child to tell you the number on the dice without touch counting each spot.
Wednesday - Cheerio counting. Number a few small balls of playdough and add a piece of dried spaghetti to each one (see photo). Provide your child with some cheerios or beads and encourage them to count the corresponding amount of beads or cheerios onto their “stick” of spaghetti. You can start with numbers to 10 and progress onto higher numbers. Encourage your child to check the accuracy of their counting and reinforce the last number name being the total.
Thursday – Go on a number hunt outside. As you are walking around the local area, encourage your child to look for numbers e.g. house numbers. Talk about the numbers they can see, you could even play a game with the numbers. For example, when spotting a number, challenge your child to clap that many times, perform that many star jumps, hop that many times etc. This will help to reinforce the value of each number and to link quantity to a numeral.
Step Four - Using tools
This week’s HarringTEN is all about using different tools. This week’s activities will support your child’s development of fine motor skills which they will need in order to become successful writers later on.
Monday - Encourage your child to hold a pencil (in whichever way they feel comfortable) and make marks. Allow them to choose what they would like to draw/write. It could be as simple as drawing a face or a person. Encourage your child to talk about their drawing for example naming the features on the person they have drawn.
Tuesday - Provide your child with some chalk. Encourage them to make marks outdoors in the garden on the floor or walls. Next, provide them with a bucket of water and different sized paintbrushes. Ask your child to go over the marks they have made and make them disappear by going over them with the water. This also works well on a chalk board/easel if you have one.
Wednesday - Provide your child with some child-friendly scissors. Use them to practise cutting a variety of different things such as straws or playdough as well as paper. You could even draw different patterns on long strips of paper for your child to follow with the scissors such as zig zag lines, wavy lines or straight lines.
Thursday - Today’s activity involves the grown ups being brave and having the confidence to enable your child to take risks. Provide your child with “real tools”. Scrap pieces of wood with screwdrivers and screws, real hammers and golf tees for children to hammer into a melon. The children have access to activities like these a lot in nursery and are taught how to use them safely – something you can reinforce at home.
Friday – Threading. Children love threading activities and it can be as simple as threading beads onto a pipe cleaner. You could also cut/poke holes into a toilet roll or kitchen roll tube and encourage your child to thread the pipe cleaners in and out of the holes – a kitchen colander is also good for this. You can also purchase blunt, child-friendly needles which can be used for threading with wool or string and beads. These activities will not only develop your child’s hand-eye coordination but will also support the development of fine motor skills.
Step Three - Early Reading
This week’s HarringTEN steps to school readiness focusses on Early Reading. To be ready to start reading, children need to have a variety of skills in place. These early reading skills include noticing words or letters in the environment, rhyming, awareness of letter sounds and the skills associated with language development such as listening, attention, alliteration and sound discrimination. All the activities this week will give you some ideas on how to support your child in developing these key skills.
Monday – Noticing print in the environment
Go on a short walk in your local area; point out print (POP) to your child. Can your child recognise signs for local shops, restaurants, the post office, McDonald’s etc? Do they recognise their street sign, their own name? These are all important early reading skills to help your child prepare for being taught phonics. Talk to your child about signs as much as you can - you will be surprised by how many they can already recognise!
Tuesday - Play with letters
If you have them available use magnetic letters to help your child search and find some of the different letters within their name or letters that they recognise. Can they find the letters they need for their name and put these in the correct order? If you don’t have magnetic letters available look through magazines or newspapers, cereal boxes and other food packaging – Can your child point out the letters from their name?
Wednesday -Tell stories about pictures
Encourage your child to tell you a story about a random picture from a book or magazine or use some of their own toys from around the house. Ask your child to tell you who the characters are in their story, what are they doing, and why? Reassure them that there is no right or wrong answer and that you are creating a story together using their imagination. You can even model this yourself by creating a story of your own at bedtime. As an alternative, you could use any fancy dress costumes you have to help your child be in role and create a story that way.
Thursday – Play word games
Play simple word games such as I spy with your child e.g. I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘t’ (make sure you say the sound of the letter and not the name). You can add extra details to make this easier by adding ‘I spy something beginning with t which has 4 big wheels’. This activity will encourage your child to hear the first sounds in words.
Friday – Rhyme
One of the best ways to encourage children to identify rhyme in words is to read rhyming stories to them and sing lots of nursery rhymes. Listen to the story of ‘Shark in the Park’ read by Phil. Together, listen for and identify the words that rhyme e.g. shark and park. You could extend this even further by seeing if you can think of your own words to add to the rhyme that aren’t in the story.
Step Two - Singing
This week’s HarringTEN step to school readiness is all about singing! We all love a sing song and I am sure it brings a smile to everyone’s face in your home – I know it does mine! We will be sending you a rhyme or song to sing each day, along with some activity ideas. Be sure to talk to your child about any unfamiliar words in the songs and rhymes you sing. This will help to widen their vocabulary. It is also helpful to repeat rhymes several times so that children become familiar with them and learn them from memory.
Rhyme: 1 bubble, 2 bubbles (to the tune of “ABC Alphabet Song”)
1 bubble, 2 bubbles, 3 bubbles, top.
4 bubbles, 5 bubbles, 6 make some bubbles hop.
7 bubbles, 8 bubbles, 9 bubbles pop.
10 bubbles float down, time to stop.
- Use some bubble solution and a wand at the ready and blow a few bubbles before starting the rhyme.
- Blow large bubbles by dipping the wide end of a funnel in bubble mixture.
- Choose a bubble and count to see how many seconds it lasts before it bursts.
- Roll a dice and ‘pop’ the number of bubbles shown on the dice.
- Have a go at bubble painting; put a small amount of washing up liquid or bubble mixture, paint and water into a container. Using a straw, blow into the mixture to create lots of bubbles, then gently place a piece of paper onto the bubbles so they burst and leave an imprint. Repeat using different colours of paint to build up your picture.
Rhyme: Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty dumpty had a great fall,
All the kings’ horses and all the kings men
Couldn’t put humpty together again.
- Use Lego, Duplo or building bricks and build a tower for humpty that will not fall down.
- Build a wall with containers, cardboard boxes or anything else you can find - can you balance a ball on top of your wall without it toppling off ?
Rhyme: I’m a Little Teapot.
I’m a Little teapot short and stout,
Here’s my handle , here’s my spout,
When the kettle boils hear me shout,
tip me up and pour me out.
- Water play - use a plastic tea pot from a children’s play set (or even better use a real one if you can), allow your child to fill it with water, sing the song while children are filling and pouring using the teapot.
Rhyme: Miss Polly had a Dolly
Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick
So she called for the doctors to come quick, quick, quick
The doctor came with his bag and his hat
And he knocked on the door with a rat a tat tat.
He looked at the dolly and he shook his head
And he said miss Polly put her straight to bed
Hew wrote on a paper for a pill pill pill,
I’ll be back in the morning yes I will, will, will.
- Act out the scene with your child or a poorly dolly, take on the role of the doctor, find a bag and a hat and any other props you might have to act out the story.
- Talk about a time when they have been ill and had to go to the doctor for some medicine, can they remember this? Did they have a piece of paper like Miss Polly to get their medicine, did the doctor tell them to rest just like Miss Polly?
- What is different in the rhyme and in real life? Does the doctor come to see them or do they go to see the doctor?
Rhyme: Incy Wincy Spider
Incy Wincy spider climbing up the spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain
And Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again
- Make a web using materials in the garden twigs, sticks etc , use a tube of some sort for a drainpipe – cardboard cylinder from foil, kitchen roll make a paper spider let it climb up and send it down the tube as you sing the song.
Step One - Story Retell
Monday - Listen to the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (read by Mrs Oliver). Follow this link -
After you have listened to the story, can you talk about what happened? What happened at the Beginning? Middle? End? Encourage your child to remember key events that happened.
Tuesday – Listen to the story again. This is very important as it enables your child to learn and remember the key events in the story.
After, talk to your child about the days of the week. Can you name them in the right order? What might you do on a typical Monday, Tuesday etc.
Wednesday – Listen to the story again. As you are listening, can you count along with Mrs Oliver, saying the number names in order? Perhaps you could find different fruit in your house and count them out of the fruit bowl? How many of each fruit do you have? How many do you have altogether?
Thursday – Listen to the story again or maybe even read your own together if you have a copy at home. Today, talk about the different colours in the story. Talk about your favourite colour, sort different objects by their colour, go on a colour hunt or even make repeating patterns with the different colours e.g. red, blue, red, blue.
Friday – Remind your child of the story you have been listening to this week. Can they recall what happened? Today, focus on talking about the food in the story. Why did the caterpillar have a tummy ache? Can you decide which food is healthy and which is unhealthy – you could even do this with food you have in your house, sorting them into two piles. Remember to talk about what healthy and unhealthy means.