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Early Years Foundation Stage - New Intake 2020

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To help your child in the build up to September 2020 we have created a tour of the Reception and Nursery classrooms and outdoor area. We hope this gives you and your child a feel for our school and helps you to get to know some of our Early Year’s staff.

We are preparing for your child to join us in September and realise it is difficult at present for us to offer the usual transition into Hillside. We have thought deeply about questions you may have and important information we can share with you. Mrs Morris (Head Teacher) and Mrs Attewell (Early Years Leader) are preparing slides and audio which are usually shared at a “New to Early Years’ Parent meeting” which will give you an introduction to Hillside School life. This will be available to watch soon. We are also wanting to arrange a meeting with you and your child in a safe and useful way – details on how this will happen will follow shortly.

We are providing you with information about a typical school day, resources children need, ideas to help prepare your child for school through answering frequently asked questions. Please refer to the Foundation web pages for further information on Early Year’s Education and the Hillside Early Year’s Handbook sent to you in the “Welcome Pack” which has information to help you prepare your child for Early Year’s Education.

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What time does school start and finish?

Nursery – Nursery runs for two three hour sessions. Morning session 8:30am – 11:30am and Afternoon session 12:30pm – 3:30pm. We do offer 30 hour funded spaces and the opportunity to pay for lunch.

Reception – The gate to Reception opens at 8:45am and closes at 8:55am. Any child arriving at school after this time is marked as late and will enter the school via the school office. Our day finishes at 3:10pm and the gate remains open until 3:20pm. A child will be taken to the school office to await collection if you are late picking up your child. If someone different is collecting your child, please call or email the school office with their details.

Does Hillside have Breakfast and After School Clubs?

The school has both a breakfast and after school club available. They are based in the Family Centre on the school site. Information regarding the clubs and how to book a space for your child is found on our website and also via the school office.

A company called “Get Active” also runs a variety of after school activities. Year groups are given particular clubs your child can sign up to each half term. Letters with club news and signing up information are sent out each half term.

What uniform and resources will my child need?

Children are expected to wear a school uniform (a list of which is available in our Early Year’s handbook and school prospectus) Jumpers, cardigans and fleece with the school logo can be purchased from the school office. Reception children need a PE kit which is a house coloured t –shirt and blue shorts (also available from the school office) It is expected that the PE kit remains in school from Monday to Friday.

A named water bottle is needed, containing water only. A pair of wellies are essential for outdoor learning. We ask all items coming into school to be clearly named and identifiable to the children.

Reception children receive a school book bag. This is needed in school daily, to help the safe journey of reading books and correspondence to and from school. Book bags are kept in a child’s tray in the classroom.

What does a typical day in Nursery look like?

A Nursery session lasts for three hours. Children are encouraged to be as independent as possible. We have a mix of adult led group times and independent learning. Children can free flow inside and outside during independent learning and adults interact with the children whilst they are engaged in activities linked to their fascinations and interests. Children are allocated a Key Person and belong to a Hedgehog or Squirrel Key Group.

Observations are taken of the children and shared half termly with families via Target Tracker. Key people are always available to discuss any queries with you at the beginning or end of sessions.

What does a typical day in Reception look like?

Our day begins with morning activities in each Key Group area. We encourage the children to come into school as independently as possible. The day has a mix of adult led group times (when we teach phonics, maths, PE and other areas of learning) and independent learning. During independent learning children can free flow inside and outside and follow their own interests and fascinations. Adults observe and interact with children and observations are shared with families half termly via Target Tracker.

At lunch time children have lunch in a dining hall and play outside on the playground closest to the Reception outside area. Children can have a Universal free school meal, (ordered the night before via Scopay) or bring a packed lunch. In the morning the children are offered a fruit or vegetable snack and a drink of milk (please sign up to the cool milk scheme)

At the end of the day parents and carers wait at the gate to Reception and then wait at the classroom door (at the edge of the canopy area) so children can be dismissed safely. If you need to speak to your child’s Key Person you can do so at the end of a day, once all the children have been dismissed.

How is information shared with families?

Emails and messages are sent out via email from the school office. It is important we have an email address we can contact you on and for us to share your child’s learning journey via Target Tracker.

Each week we send a Reception newsletter and every other week a Nursery newsletter goes out to families. The newsletters reflect on the learning in school, gives ideas for home learning and informs you of the learning for the next week. It includes messages and important dates and events.

If you have any queries regarding your child’s education we ask you to email admin@hillside.wokingham.sch.uk and ask for the email to be sent on to your child’s Key Person.

Whole school letters are also emailed out and letters are also available to read on our website.

During the Autumn and Spring terms, parents are invited to attend parent teacher meetings, when we share your child’s progress in learning and social and emotional development. Reception children also receive a written report at the end of a school year.

How can I support my child’s learning?

We always appreciate adult helpers in Early Years. Adult helpers must have a current DBS before signing up to help. We usually wait for the children to be well settled before inviting adults in to help (Spring term)

Do I need to do anything before my child starts?

There are a number of skills that children will benefit from having before starting Nursery and School. We encourage all children to be as independent as possible, but realise all children are unique and develop at different ages and stages and we are always able to support your child’s individual needs.

Here is a list of skills which are useful to develop at home before your child starts in Nursery or Reception.

  • Encourage your child to dress / undress himself / herself, choose clothes and shoes with easy fastenings, it is helpful for children to recognise their belongings and we ask for all clothing and belongings to be named.
  • Encourage independence in toileting and self-care (know how to flush the toilet and wash hands) Teach your child to use a hankie / tissue to wipe their nose and dispose of it efficiently.
  • Encourage your child to use a knife and fork.
  • Expect them to tidy away their toys and know where they are stored.
  • Encourage your child to take turns and share toys with their friends. Begin to show empathy and understanding of other’s needs and feelings.
  • Teach your child to recognise their name.
  • Share stories, rhymes and songs with your child*
  • Have flowing conversations, encouraging your child to listen and respond and develop vocabulary.
  • Practice counting – use rhymes to help, and recognising numbers to 10.
  • Help your child develop gross and fine motor skills, to build muscles for writing. (A few examples, peg out the washing, paint outside with brushes and water on fences and ground, sweep up leaves)
  • *suggested list of books and traditional tales is found below

Which books are shared with the children?

Our planning always links to a story of the week. At Hillside we want all children to become readers, and inspire children to have a desire to lose yourself in a book! Below is a list of stories and traditional tales we share with the children, and we encourage you to enjoy many stories together at home.

Below is a book list of stories we share together in school.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt – by Michael Rosen

Owl Babies – by Martin Waddell

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – by Eric Carle

The Gruffalo – by Julia Donaldson

Elmer – by Davis McKee

Dear Zoo – by Rob Campbell#

Peace At Last – by Jill Murphy

Handa’s Surprise – by Eileen Brown

Shark in the Park – by Nick Sharratt

Each Peach Pear Plum – Janet and Allan Alhberg

The Tiger Who Came To Tea – Judith Kerr

Where’s My Teddy? – by Jez Alborough

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Bill Martin Junior

Three Little Pigs

Little Red Hen

Jack and the Beanstalk

Gingerbread Man

Enormous Turnip

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Three Billy Goats Gruff

The Owl who was afraid of the dark – Jill Murphy

Not now Bernard – David Mckee

Mrs Armitage on wheels – Quentin Blake

The tiny seed – Eric Carle

Farmer Duck – Martin Wardell & Helen Oxenbury

Cora Caterpillar – Barry & Emma Tranter

Whatever next? – Jill Murphy

My Granny went to market – Stella Blackstone & Christopher Corr

Do you have any ideas to try out over the Summer to prepare my child for Nursery and School

  • Create a countdown to starting school calendar, showing weeks in advance and note when key events are taking place.
  • Create an all about me box to share with the Key adults when your child starts school.
  • Have a look at the information and videos on the webpage showing classroom layout and environment.
  • Role-play going to school: trying on uniform, pack a lunch box, book bag, PE bag
  • Walk past Hillside Primary School and talk about starting at Nursery / School
  • Read some transition stories with your children.

Some suggestions of these books are:

  • Starting school- by Janet and Alan Alberg
  • Alife and the big boys- Shirley Hughes
  • Harry and the Dinosaurs go to school- Ian Whybrow
  • I am absolutely too small for school- Lauren Child
  • Topsy and Tim start school
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If you have any further questions which need answering please email admin@hillside.wokingham.sch.uk and ask for your question to be directed to Mrs Attewell, Early Years Leader.

We are looking forward to building relationships with families and welcoming you and your child to Hillside Primary School. We will endeavour to keep you updated with progress on transitions and important parent – teacher meetings as soon as we are able.

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