Preparing children for school is a very important responsibility for any child care and at Learning Curves we have developed a dedicated programme to accomplish this. When children turn four years old, or if they come to us at this age, they are automatically entered into our Transition to School programme. We aim to prepare children for school in a number of ways. Children will be encouraged to develop their reading, writing and numeracy skills, please see Literacy and Numeracy for more information on this.
We also have two special trips for four year olds every school term. One trip is a half day school visit held in partnership with our various local schools. On these days the children will spend a morning or afternoon at varying schools in our areas, where the children may attend assembly, spend time in the classroom or be invited along for special events e.g. a musical performance by the school. These trips allow the children a chance to gain an understanding of how school operates and what will be expected of them when they attend themselves.
We also provide an termly full day trip for the four year olds, the destination being decided in collaboration with the children according to their interests. For example, if the children are showing a strong interest in animals we may go to the zoo. On these trips children are asked to bring a lunch box and drink bottle, and will pack their own lunches the morning of the trip. They will carry their lunch in their own bag and be responsible for their belongings for the entire day. This gives the children the opportunity to exercise independence and self-regulation. As such we ask that parents don’t attend these trips in order to best prepare children for school.
One last aspect of our Transition to School programme is the daily mat time we have after lunch. During this time our younger children will be sleeping, so the older children will sit down at the mat with a teacher. This mat time can involve a broad array of activities including story time, sharing news, songs, group games, etc., which are used to directly teach the children about their interests. During mat time children are encouraged to raise their hand to speak, to sit on the mat and wait their turn to share in order to best emulate a classroom environment. Through this children can learn what will be expected of them when they attend school and can be prepared to enter the classroom.