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5 things you must do to get your child ready for primary school

Little girl drawing
You've got the primary school place you've been waiting for and have just fired off that acceptance slip. What can you do now to get your child ready for primary school? Camilla Chafer shares her top tips.

1. Encourage independence

Reception children will be expected to know the basics of looking after themselves. Encourage your child to dress on their own – tackling buttons, zips and taking off and putting on jackets. Plus they should know how to eat using a knife, fork and spoon independently and be able to go to the toilet without help.

2. Help them learn about making friends

Having friends is hugely beneficial for children. Those who have already been to pre-school or a nursery will already be proficient in socialising, so do encourage your child to talk to other children at play sessions or at the park and invite young friends over for play dates.

3. Develop speaking and listening skills

School children are expected to listen to what the teacher says, without interrupting, and to also answer when spoken to. Get your child ready for ‘circletime’ – a time when the teacher and class sit together every day to discuss topics – by trying it out at home. Either make your own ‘circletime’ with siblings – or use teddies and dolls – and encourage family discussions at the dinner table, taking turns to listen and to speak.

4. Teach them to recognise their name

Some children will already be able to read and write simple words by the time they start Reception; others will be new learners. It’s important that your child can recognise their name so they can pick up the correct name-labelled uniform or jacket, and also find their own drawer in the classroom. With your child, explore what the letters in their name look like and help them try writing their name, too.

5. Talk enthusiastically about school

Children's thoughts about school can vary enormously. Some can hardly wait to start while some find it stressful to leave their parents for the day. Start helping your child look forward to school by talking enthusiastically about it now. Visit the classroom, admire other pupils' pictures and projects together and talk about what your child will be doing and who they will meet in positive terms.

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