The role of early years education in preparing children for primary school

August 9, 2023
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Supporting your child as they begin their next chapter

The transition from nursery to primary school is a significant milestone in a child’s life. The change in routine and expectations, as well as the introduction of formal learning structures, may cause worry and uncertainty for parents and children. However, with the right support and preparation during their early years, we ensure children can approach this transition with confidence and ease.

Our SM curriculum encourages children of all ages to meet their milestones, from babies to preschoolers who are ready to leave us for primary school. Our milestones are responsive to suit the differences in each child, and our educators shape activities and experiences so that every child can learn in a way that is right for them. Let’s explore how our SM curriculum prepares children and their families as they embark on the next chapter of their education.

Communicating with others

At nursery, children learn the skills that lay the groundwork for successful communication not just in primary school, but throughout their life. Our curriculum introduces children to language-rich environments to help develop their vocabulary. We use both fiction and non-fiction books to discuss word meanings, synonyms, and the sounds of words. These experiences and skills will remain with children as they move on to primary school, allowing them to express themselves and articulate their needs with both their peers and their teachers.

Making social connections

Early childhood is a time when children develop social skills that help them to interact positively with others and establish relationships. Our curriculum guides children to recognise the value of connecting with their peers as they begin to understand empathy, cooperation, and how to resolve conflict. We use activities such as role-play and puppets to model positive behaviours and support the development of relationship skills. A child who has developed these skills during their early years is well-equipped to create relationships at primary school.

Learning about emotions

In their early years, children begin to understand and name their emotions, practising how to handle them as they arise. Ahead of their transition to primary school, some children may feel worried and upset, and it is important to provide emotional support and validation of these feelings. In our nurseries, we do this through open discussions about any fears or concerns, and sharing stories that explain our emotions. Some of our top picks include Bear Feels Kind (Garry Fleming), Don’t Worry Little Crab (Chris Haughton), and Betty Goes Bananas (Steve Antony).

Keeping in touch

We work collaboratively with you to support your child’s transition to primary school. Every family is assigned a key person, who will get to know your child and understand how best to support them. We keep you updated with daily logs on your child’s activities and development and provide advice where needed.

Building independence

Children are encouraged to be independent through tasks such as self-care and decision-making. For example, we teach children about hand washing and teeth cleaning, promoting good hygiene practices. During outdoor learning or Forest School sessions, independence is encouraged as children are supported to make decisions, take risks and problem-solve. With an increased sense of independence, children gain the confidence to handle responsibilities that may arise in a primary school setting.

Developing routines

Establishing consistent routines both at home and nursery helps children adapt to planned schedules and makes the transition to the more structured primary school routine smoother. This includes setting up a consistent daily pattern with eating, toileting and sleeping routines. If things are likely to change, we ensure children are given advance notice to help them feel prepared. By developing a predictable routine, children establish a secure sense of self.

Understanding school

Throughout our nurseries, we familiarise children with the school environment. For example, walks to the local primary schools, visits from teachers and displaying uniforms within our preschool learning spaces. These small acts can ease a child’s worries about their next step as they become familiar with their new environments.  

Early education lays the foundation for a confident transition to primary school. By fostering cognitive, social, and emotional development, our nursery schools ensure that children embark on their next chapter at primary school with confidence. If you want to provide your child with the best start in life, we would love to hear from you. Click here to register your interest at your local SM nursery and a member of our team will be in touch.

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