cursive alphabetWhat a great school the girls are in! All parents have been invited to three workshops last week to enable us to help our children get to grips with the learning system our school are using with our children and I am so pleased they are encouraging parents to take part and help them help our kids learn.

One of the most important messages they’re sending us is they cannot stress enough how important it is for parents to take an active role in their children’s learning and this imput doesn’t have to take up hours of a busy parents time, for example five minutes alone reading time and games played around the house all help the child memorise and utilise what they’ve been learning in class.

The main point being raised at the moment is our children are learning mostly through play, games in the classroom, lots of outdoor activity – even when it’s raining as we have a sheltered playground and a game may cover three of four different parts of the education syllabus.

Phonics for foundation stage

Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing the English language by developing learners’ phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes—in order to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them. – Wikipedia

The above jargon explained in ‘proper’ English means our children will learn the sounds that make words and although there are some ‘tricky’ words that will have to be memorised as they don’t follow the phonics rule it is proven by following this method of teaching, children learn quicker. There’s even a video on You Tube to help parents recognise the sounds

Another rule they will be following is learning to use cursive writing from the start. The teachers say they have seen excellent results already with previous years that have used the method and they will also encourage the children to recognise letters in many different fonts. In fact how can we as parents help?

Well, think of the logos, and fonts used in every day life from store names to cereal packets to comics and basically anything that has the written word on it. Encourage the children to recognise the letters.

Play games which encourage children to think about the word they’re saying ‘what sound does cat start with?’ c would be the answer (see video for correct pronunciation)

This morning at breakfast I asked ‘Who wants some ‘te’ for toast?’ followed by ‘Would you like ‘ge’ for jam or huh for honey?’ I’m not sure I’m spelling those phonics correctly but you get the point and what’s more the girls loved it.

We’ve been given lots of sites where we can play games with the children that I’d like to pass on to you too and also note down for myself in case I lose the piece of paper!

  • click on games but also printables available
  • – Phonic and numeracy games
  • Kent ITC games – Phonic and numeracy games
  • Starfall – American site
  • Crickweb – variety of games
  • CBeebies – alphablocks
  • Letters and Sounds – printable games

Reading foundation stage workshop

Our second workshop was to help children learn to read and to assist their learning we are encouraged to spend 5 minutes a day listening to them, even if it’s just a picture and they are telling you what is going on in that picture. To ask questions like “What happened next?’ How did it end? so they get a notion of beginning , middle and end of story.

Preschoolers reading a book

We shall be receiving books home next week with a special contact book to write each child’s progress and it’s not important they finish the book in one go but concentrate on one/ two pages at a time and get them right. Make sure the child understands what they are reading.

Useful sties include

Maths foundation stage workshop

Lastly today our maths workshop. Most games played outside will include a numeracy aspect or shapes, mass, size, weight, and proportion. children will learn to recognise numbers 1 – 20 and know which number comes next and before. Our role is to let them help us measure when we cook, show them numbers around the house, ie on the remote control, telephone, clock and so forth. Get them to recognise the numbers on number plates and ask them to add one on to a number to get the notion of one more.

John crane High Tea Shape sorter, number

some helpful websites are

So I’m sure you agree we have plenty of resources to help our little ones learn easily over the next year

Riverview Infant School

The other day I went for my first meeting at the infant school where the girl’s will be starting in September, a very exciting time and an extremely important one too. I recently shared with you my thoughts on keeping twins together or not but whilst I sat listening to the Head Mistress discuss uniform requirements, the induction process and introduce us to our class teachers it hadn’t occurred to me about getting the girls ready for school.

There are so many things we, as parents, do that we take for granted as part of our daily life that I hadn’t stopped to think about the Headmistresses top tips all of which make perfect sense for an easier passage from preschool to Big School.

I am very lucky and honoured to host a guest post from our head Nicole Caulfield and I hope it will help many others out their get their little ones ready for the grand occasion

Top Tips for getting your child ready for Primary School

Most of our children attend a Nursery/ Pre-school, all of whom offer valuable social and learning opportunities.

However now that your child is starting school we expect a degree of independence from them, particularly with 120 children joining us in September.

Whilst there are a number of adults to help and support the children in school the ratio is far less than in Nursery schools.  In schools there only has to legally be 2 adults: 30 children. Whilst here at Riverview we have additional adults in the Foundation Stage there are still things that you may want to work on before your child starts with us, particularly if your child currently finds things tricky:


Unfortunately we cannot wipe bottoms. Whilst staff are happy to encourage children to do it themselves it is preferable if they are independent as our toilets are separate to our classrooms. Sometimes even shouting ‘finished’ from the confines of the cubicle doesn’t immediately attract attention.

If your child has a special medical condition we need to arrange a ‘Care Plan’ to support their needs.

Dressing & undressing

Taking clothes off independently & putting them back on in the right order!! This can be particularly tricky for some children especially during the first PE sessions.

Children are generally really good at taking their clothes off but putting them tidy ready to put on again can take time.

The trickier time comes when dressing; which clothes go on in the right order? We have a number of children who put their socks and shoes on first and then try to get their trousers on. This generally leads to the hopping around the classroom scenario.

Sometimes we get the superman pants and generally everyone gets their clothes on back to front and inside out, or they forget to put them back on at all!

We try and make life easier with our uniform policy, (the buttons on polo shirts are easier for small fingers than shirts) and with shoes, Velcro is easier than laces.

If you think your child may have problems, have a practise over the holiday period.

Knives & forks

This is particularly relevant if your child is going to be having one of our fabulous cooked lunches. Lunchtime here is very busy and whilst our platoon of Mid-Day Supervisors help children cut up food, they are unable to sit with them or feed them and spaghetti bolognaise is very messy when eaten with fingers! If your child is just used to finger food then you may want to practise with a knife and fork, spoons are ok to start with.

Blowing noses

At some point your child will get a cold (probably amongst other childhood illnesses) and the candles of snot will appear running from their nose, generally to be randomly licked away or wiped on the sleeve of a sweatshirt leaving that tell-tale snail trail. In our experience the knack is to practise actually blowing the contents of the nasal cavities into a tissue, rather than smacking their lips together.


This may appear old fashioned but for us a simple ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ goes a long way.

Some excellent tips I think you’ll agree, I’ve decided we’re going to be setting up a reward chart over the next few months with stars and prizes for each obstacle tackled to make it fun and hopefully master all of the challenges above ;)