Real School Readiness
We want the best possible school experience and results for our children.
For children to be ready for formal learning, their development needs to be secure in all areas. However not all children are lucky enough to start reception with all parts of their development ready.
I often work with children in reception classes whose pencil skills can still be at the 2-3 year stage when they need to be starting to write, whose memory skills are not yet strong enough for starting to blend and write early words, whose visual perception skills and eye movement skills are not yet strong enough for reading, and who struggle to sit, to listen, to process language, instructions and phonic sounds, to sustain attention, to manage their excitement, frustration and social conflict with other children, who haven't yet developed the levels of involvement to be able to learn independently and effectively through their play, or have the balance and core strength ready to sit with the good posture needed for learning to write and using good fine motor skills.
I work with schools and especially Foundation Stage teams to address all of the above. The approach involves identifying the children who need support, building the play experiences they need to develop their skills into the play environment and using purposeful planning and monitoring to help them learn effectively through their play, to achieve every child's physical readiness for learning, and to help every child move forward in all areas of development to be ready to succeed. Most importantly, it involves skilling up staff to have this confident knowledge themselves. Staff training and support plays a strong part in it, plus providing planning and intervention resources.
I believe strongly that early years children learn best through play. However teaching effectively through play to ensure quality learning through play is a skilled job. Staff who have access to good understanding of development and resources to support them can help every child be ready to succeed in formal learning without ever reducing the quality and freedom of play, or the enjoyment of school, that a young child needs at the start of their school life.
By strengthening the developmental foundations for every child in their reception year, staff also help to reduce the number of children who will come to experience difficulties with literacy in later school years.