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Read our 10 top tips for starting school!

Year R teachers and Pre-school staff have put together their 10 Top Tips for starting school. Help your child to develop these key skills so that they are ready for Year R in September!

If your child does not have these skills yet, don’t worry!

This is simply a list of skills that they can develop over time and some ways in which you can help them during the summer before school starts.

Top TipWhat you can do to help your child

1) I am independent - I can blow my nose, wash my hands and go to the toilet, all on my own.

I can eat my packed lunch by myself, even undoing the wrappers!

And I can put on my own coat and do it up.

To help your child learn to blow their own nose:

One mum said: "I asked him to put his fingers under his nose and tickle them with air from his nose. When he needed to blow his nose, I asked him to do the same thing, but harder, into a tissue."

There's help with handwashing in this NHS video:

Help with handwashing - YouTube

For ideas about toileting:

Toilet training hints and tips for parents and carers whose children are starting school, from ERIC, the children's bowel and bladder cancer charity:

Thinking about wee and poo now you're on the way to school

Daytime wetting

Where to get help in Portsmouth:

Children's continence service

For suggestions about healthy affordable eating please check out the following websites:

Change 4 Life

The NHS Eat Well Guide

NHS Choices - Eat4Cheap

Love Food, Hate Waste features tips, advice and healthy recipes.
2) I can run, jump, climb and move around confidentlyThese websites may help you to find some fun active physical exercises that you can do with your child:

Physical activity guidelines for children under 5

49 fun physical activities to do with kids aged 2 to 4
3) I can confidently communicate and make my needs known to other peopleThis website has ideas for everyday activities you can do with babies and young children to help them develop their communication skills:

Hungry Little Minds

4) I can join in with activities and sing rhymes and songsSing at every opportunity! Here are some songs that you might like:

The Little Red Hen

Deep, Deep Down in the Sea

Nursery Rhymes

5) I can listen and take turns in a conversationTake a look at this website, it is full of exciting everyday activities you can do with babies and young children to help them develop their communication and language skills:

Hungry Little Minds

6) I can share books and talk about the pictures and storylinesThere are lots of pre-schools and schools in Portsmouth who have taken part in a reading project called 'Read With Me'. There are 10 recommended reads for you and your child to explore over the summer holidays. Visit your local library to find these books:

  • 'Oi Frog' by Kes Gray and Jim Field
  • 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
  • 'Shark in the Park' by Nick Sharratt
  • 'Dinosaurs Love Underpants' by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
  • 'Mixed up Fairy Tales' by Hilary Robinson and Nick Sharratt
  • 'This Old Man' by Pam Adams
  • 'Owl Babies' by Martin Wadell
  • 'You Choose' by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart
  • 'Ten Little Superheroes' by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty
  • 'Dear Zoo' by Rod Campbell

7) I can draw and make marks with pencils, crayons and pens and use scissors safely

Just have fun drawing and making marks with your child! If you have an outdoor space use big chalks and mark on the ground and then enjoy washing the marks away.

Practise using scissors to snip and cut all sorts of shapes and show your child how to hold the scissors correctly. Try different materials - you don’t have to just use paper.

By making marks and using scissors, children will be developing their hand strength and this will help them when they start writing. Using other tools and equipment will help too - can your child help with gardening or cooking and use the equipment needed, can they practice using knives and forks?

8) I can concentrate on something that interests me and carry out an activity

Encourage your child to stick at an activity for a few minutes and talk about what they have achieved. You could plan your day with your child so they can make some choices of their own and have lots of opportunities to talk about what they are doing and learning.

Can you set them a challenge? Use a timer on your phone to see how long they can keep going. Let them set you a challenge too so they can time you!

9) I can take turns and share with other peopleTry playing some board games or turn taking games over the summer holidays. Play catch or roll a ball between you or take turns on a slide in the park. Encourage children to take turns and share their toys with their friends or brothers and sisters - give them lots of praise when they do.
10) I am excited, curious and enthusiastic about learning in my new school!Be positive about the start of school. You could read some stories together. Oxford Owl is a website with some good books.

Have a look at your child's new school website together and see if you can find photos of the staff who will be teaching your child and what the classrooms, hall, play grounds look like.

Applying to start school

Parents and carers need to apply for their child to start school in September.

If you haven’t already applied, it’s not too late, even though the 15 January deadline has passed.

You can find the information booklet here or request a copy from the Admissions Team. If you have any queries regarding your child’s application or you would like help completing your form, please contact the Admissions Team via the City Helpdesk on 023 9268 8008.

You can also print off the application form here to complete it.

What to expect in school in September 2021

To find out more about the return to school in the Autumn Term 2021, please visit: Schools – coronavirus information – Portsmouth City Council