Boy Playing with Abacus

Ready Steady School with Leapfrog 

Throughout your child’s early years journey at Leapfrog we have been building the foundations to prepare them for the next stage of education. 

We wanted to provide you with some activities to continue doing this with your little ones and support you in helping to prepare them for school.  

These are only for fun and should be approached in a play based way, these may be things that your child is not ready to do just yet or they may be things your child is very confident with.

As all children develop and progress at different stages through the EYFS curriculum, these shouldn’t cause any anxiety, all of this learning continues through the first year of school. 

Six Challenges– Let’s get Ready Steady School!

Challenge 1 – A quiz for fun

Follow the link to complete a getting ready for school challenge, it goes through some key things that early years teachers believe will help your support your child’s ‘big step. This is not a test or exact science but a bit of fun and to give you some ideas and remember your child may not be able to do all of these things just yet and even if they still can’t do them by September they will be learning them in Reception class as they develop and learn with their new friends!

Challenge 2 – Getting dressed with cut the chocolate game

This is a fun way to involve all the family and practice putting clothes on and off, shirt with buttons, coat with a zip and shoes and socks are good ones to practice! This is good if it can be done with a sibling or someone else just as it’s a bit more competitive. 

Arrange the clothes that need to be put on by each person and prepare a knife and fork with a bar of chocolate. You will need to roll a dice, taking turns. 

The first person to roll a six gets to jump up and get their clothes on as quickly as they can (you can always add funny items of clothes too) as soon as they are dressed they can start trying to cut a piece of chocolate, ( if they cut it they can eat it) whilst the other players are still rolling, if at any point someone else rolls a six, the person must stop, get undressed and sit back down.

This is a great family game for as many players or teams as you like, it can get silly and clothes are flying on and off but hopefully it reduces any anxiety about getting dressed and can be done with their uniform items once they have it.  Encourage your children to do key items on their own as part of their daily routine as much as possible. 

Challenge 3 – Have a school lunch  

So depending on whether your child is having school dinners of packed lunch, make a list and decide what kind of things they like to eat for lunch, talk about trying new things. 

Make a lunch together, if it’s a packed lunch then make it, pack it in the lunch box and sit and eat together at a table. Practice opening and unwrapping all the bits and bobs by themselves. Pots, packets, yoghurts and drinks, think about these as your child might sit and wait for a while if an adult is having to open 30 tupperwares! 

If it’s a school lunch then prepare a meal on a tray and see if they can hold and balance their tray over to the table, children often choose from a salad or snack bar at school, so setting up a salad bar and making choices might be fun too! Encourage them to eat with a knife and fork and then clear their own things away, scraping in the bin and putting dirty cups and bowls in the sink.

Challenge 4 – Word play

Recognising their name before children go to school can be really helpful, as they will need to hang their coat on their peg and find their tray or book or book bag. T will really help with their confidence too.

It’s helpful, at home to have their name displayed somewhere so they are seeing it regularly and can practice copying it and writing it on any pictures they do. Mix their name up in with lots of their words and see if they can spot it! The self-registration we have at nursery always really helps with this!

Initial sounds can be helpful too, so playing I spy and finding objects that begin with the same initial sound to make silly soup is always good fun for this! (find on Tapestry) The jolly phonics songs on youtube can help with the correct pronunciation of the sounds but you can still talk about letter names too

Challenge 5 – My special number 

Children’s age is their special number, it gives learning about numbers a context, not just counting to 20 out loud but knowing the ‘fourness of 4’ really builds the foundations for children’s future mathematical understanding. So spot the number out and about and in the environment. Match the number to the correct amount of objects, put four candles on a play dough birthday cake and decorate a large number. 

Challenge 6- Emotional well being 

Being able to express their feelings at this next stage in their life is really important. It is a huge milestone and all children will feel differently, but they will all need to know how to communicate with the new adults and peers in their class. At leapfrog we encourage children to use emotion words to explain how things make them feel, often imitating these expressions in a mirror so they can understand when they may see these emotions with their peers and how we react if someone is sad or cross. 

Social Stories can also be an excellent way to discuss how things make us feel, they are scenario-based stories, which can help children work through a social situation they find difficult. It could be getting angry, sharing, waiting for a turn to speak in a larger group, saying sorry etc. We have attached one idea of how you tell and sequence a social story, you can write your own or there are some resources online. Other familiar stories that support emotional well being are Rainbow fish, Elmer, giraffes can’t dance, Owl babies, Colour monster.