Starting Reception is a huge step for your child. It is a lovely time but also it can be daunting for
the parents as much as the child. Personally, I felt I didn’t really understand what was expected of
parents and that I didn’t know the right questions to ask the school ‘I didn’t know, what I didn’t
know, so how would I know to ask it’. If that makes sense!
Reception teacher, Becki Walker from St Mary and St John Primary School gives some useful
pointers about what to expect and look out for in Reception year.
Attend taster sessions where you can.
‘Every school is different but where possible attend the settling in or taster sessions offered as
these are very important. They allow the teacher and other adults to get to know your child and
learn things about them before they start school. They also provide a great opportunity for your
child to get to know their classroom and meet their new friends.’
‘For all parents, whether it’s your first, second or third child, going to school is a big step. Even
when you don’t feel positive, and sometimes nervous for your child, try not to convey that too much
to them. Make it as positive and exciting as you can.’
Talk to your Reception teacher.
‘Remember no question is a silly question so if you do have any worries then it is important to go
and speak to the teacher. Everyone is working together to achieve a positive and exciting start to
school for your child.’
‘It is really important for parents to develop a good relationship with the Reception teacher and
your child needs to see this partnership. At St Mary and St John, we hold a settling in meeting, two
parents’ evenings and send out an end of year report. Each school will be different but these
opportunities to discuss your child and their progress are invaluable and will really help you to
support your child’s next steps in learning. In addition to these more formal times, teachers are
usually around for a quick question or message in the morning or at the end of the day.’
Supporting your child at home.
Balance time to talk with screen time
‘The development of communication and language in the early years is key so time spent talking to
your child is time well spent. This can range from asking them what their favourite part of the day
was, to going on a walk and discussing what you see. When talking to children it is important not to
overwhelm them with too many questions, an example of this being after school. When they have
already had a busy day lots of questions may be too much. If you are asking a question then try
and give your child between 20-30 seconds for them to process it and then give their answer. This
feels like a very long time when you first try it but it works!’
Encourage learning through play.
‘Get your child involved with real experiences -going to the supermarket, the park, building a den in
the garden, baking cakes, or writing a card for someone in your family. These not only provide
amazing experiences but also allow for rich language opportunities.’
‘How can we ask a child to write a story about going to the park, if they haven’t been to the park
and experienced what it is like to be there. How can we talk to them about squelchy mud in a story
if they have not stood in mud with bare feet and experienced what squelchy really means?
Children need these practical and hands on experiences in all areas of their learning’.
Share stories and practice phonics.
‘At home, sharing stories is a great way to encourage talk, develop language and model different
story structures to your child. Other experiences like visiting a library or the Rutland library bus will
only enhance storytelling experiences and make them more exciting.’
‘In Reception, your child will be taught reading through phonics. This systematic way introduces
the sounds one at a time. Each school will approach this in a slightly different way, but the
approach or scheme will based around the government document ‘Letters and Sounds.’