Starting Reception in September 2020

What to expect if your child is starting Reception in September 2020

This month we were asked by SchoolRun.com to help out with answering some key questions about what parents should expect if their child is starting Reception in September 2020. Due to the implications of COVID-19, starting Reception will probably not be quite the same as normal. Here we give you some ideas about what to expect. 

How are schools helping new school starters to prepare for Reception while school visits are unlikely to happen?

  • With schools having rather a lot on their plate at the moment what with virtual teaching and welcoming back children from various year groups, this may have been pushed to the back of the agenda. However, it will be in the next few weeks that you should hear from your child’s school regarding how schools will overcome this problem. Many schools are in the process of trying to work out the best solution for helping new school starters prepare for Reception. With the usual practice of ‘Meet the Teacher’ mornings and even perhaps home-visits being scrapped, schools will now have to be more creative in approaching this. One school in Wandsworth have replaced the home-visit with a video call and the school visit is being rescheduled to August when hopefully the lockdown has relaxed further.  Another school in Wandsworth are preparing a video for the new children and parents to watch to replace the usual meet-up.  At a school in Hanwell, all parents will be able to access their website where they will find a virtual tour of the Reception classrooms and playground, information about what the school day looks like, and an introduction to the teachers and staff. An EYFS Booklet will also be sent out in the post.

Are children likely to be able to meet their teacher, either in person or online?

  • This will obviously depend on the school, but given the unprecedented times, it may be worth emailing your child’s school to ask them if an online call or similar would be possible. Being able to put a face to a name before the start of school in September could be beneficial if a face-to-face meeting is not going to be possible. One school in Richmond-Upon-Thames are sending new Reception children a video from their teacher reading a story. At a school in Hanwell, the usual scheduled home visits and visits to the school will not be able to happen. However they have added a ‘Meet the teacher section’ to their induction booklet that outlines who staff are and some personal information about them – staff will also be making phone calls home to new parents and families.

What might be put in place in September to ease these children in, given that they may have missed out on the usual induction process?

  • The current social bubbles at school seem to be working well and, if things continue as they are, it may be a very similar operation come September for all those school starters. For new school starters, small social bubbles would be a lovely way to ease new Reception children in to school; small groups of children which is not so overwhelming. Teachers will be very aware that pre-school pupils will have had different experiences of lockdown and being at home and therefore will be sensitive to this. At a school in Hanwell, they have put together a ‘Things that parents can do’ booklet to prepare their child for the change. This will support parents in carrying out small tasks to help them to be school ready. They will also be giving parents some ‘Top tips’ on how they can support their child’s emotional wellbeing and behaviour during a challenging and uncertain time. The induction process which would usually be done in July may now be done early in September in many schools. At this time, your child should be able to meet the teacher, and see the environment before they start.

What could parents be doing at home to help prepare their children?

  • The main thing you can do to help prepare your child is to speak to them lots about school. Allow them to try on their uniform and get excited about school. Activity books like Starting School Sticker Book are a great place to start the conversation.You could also read the slightly dated but still appropriate Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Oxford Reading Tree also have their own Starting School book. Stuff to Know when you Start School by Dorling Kindersley is a nice one too.

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The School Run