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Reception Induction


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:o Hi there, I am just thinking about our new intake in September! Usually the children come start school (mornings only) for the first week, building up group by group so by friday all the children are in for a morning. (The oldest start first). This continues for the next two weeks, all children stay to lunch and different groups stay for the afternoon session.

 

I have a class of 30 pure reception (birthdays from january - august) but we also have a reception year 1 mixed group with 15 reception children whose birthdays are before christmas.

 

I wondered whether a change would be good. I'm sure there are lots of different induction programs out there, if you have the time could you please share them with me. I would be very grateful.

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Hello,

Most of our children come from our school nursery so it is quite easy to get them in full time quickly (which pleases parents, and means we don't have to repeat ourselves am and pm, and gets the children into a day routine quickly).

Last year we split the class into 2 - had half am, half pm and they swapped the following week. Halfway through week 3, they started full days, and it all went smoothly wiht no tears or excessive tiredness. we had warned the parents that if they or we felt their child was too tired, we would plan a half day for them a couple of days a week, but making sure that us and the parent agreed and then told the children when they came in (not the child whinging asking to go home to prevent bad habits).

 

This year we will have a mixed R/Y1 class (probably 12 of each). After intial discussions we may have the children starting in groups of 4, 2 groups starting the first week, and one the second week. Initial thoughts are for them to come just mornings, and after a weekor 2 weeks add in lunch and then a whole day. I will be interested to hear how other mixed classes do it.

 

My son's school have a 75 intake, 2 complete reception classes and one R/Y1. They start full time there, in age order, with an individual starting time when the headteacher meets the child and escorts them and parents to the classroom where they have an individual welcome to a class of children. They all start by the end of january.

 

Marie

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Hello Rualprice,

 

and Welcome!

 

I couldn't resist giving a "user" (i.e. parent) opinion on your query.

 

I am a level 4 pre-school worker, but I did not have the benefit of this knowledge when my three children (now aged 18, 14 and 11) moved from pre-school to reception as rising 5's.

 

The primary school that all 3 went to operated one intake (Sept) each year, but staggered full-day attendance according to birthdates. This varied slightly from year-to-year (due to numbers/birthdate spreads), but generally meant that those who were 5 in Sept-Dec were full time instantly, those 5 in Jan-Mar started full time after autume half-term and those 5 Apr-Aug were full time in Jan (part-timers were mornings only).

 

All I can say is that ity doesn't work when based on chronological age. Having had huge problems with my first child (May birthday), who resented missing afternoons with her peers (but I weathered the storm, because "it was the system").

 

I was somewhat more wise to things for the second child (Jan birthday). The reception class teacher was superb. We had lengthy discussions about "readiness" long before she started school (it also helped that I had continued as a volunteer in reception after no.1 had moved on - after two years there:mixed year groups back then).

 

The school then instituted a policy that was based on individual children's needs - it was wonderful!

 

With my third child, I was even more knowledgeable! School had initially assumed that I want the third to have a similar induction to the one before. But, they were so accomodating, so receptive to my opinions, and her induction into primary school really was tailored to her needs (she has speech problems and associated social difficulties - I use the present tense because these persist).

 

I was able to use the school's expertise to supplement every else that was going on with my child. She was able to attend morning/afternoon sessions (obviously with me giving notice) to fit in with her speech therapy sessions, our "speech groups" and her needs at school.

 

So, first time round - it's hard, second time - it's easier, third time - it's different again. But many aspects of life follow this!

 

In conclusion, I'd say that the transition to reception cannot be dictated by "procedure" (except with very low numbers of children in a reception class, where total support is available - a rarity?). Policies are going to be in place and they need to be followed. As a parent, I feel that flexibility is important. And, parents are always on a learning curve (just as we EY practitioners always are).

 

Of paramount importance is "partnership with parents". I feel this is something that gels with experience for EY workers (parental experience and/or professional experience). I am able to look at "new" parents quite differently to those who have "done it before" - but because of my children's diversities, I have empathy.

 

I have been so lucky with my children's transitions into reception - and it has been because I have had such wonderful support from the school.

 

Diane.

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hi and welcome rualprice! :D

 

Thats an interesting question. Personally I am of the opinion that not to have part time provision is a mistake. Certainly for my own children who both started full time straight away it was too much.

From a professional point of view I have only worked with a very short time of part time provision--up to one week and we started the children in the session that matched with their nursery place. The shortness of the part time provision was dictated by the parents really as they made such a fuss that my head bowed to the pressure to have the children in full time asap. I would have preferred it to be much more staggered and to have included a lunch time.

Lunch times are always the most difficult time in Reception and the number of children also proved to be quite difficult. We tried to make our sessions as user friendly as possible and because they were play based and appropriate other issues were usually minimised.

 

I would also recommend home visiting as part of your induction process, as this in itself made a tremendous difference to the settling of the children. This was not as successful when we visited before a holiday.

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This year i am having my first ever pure reception class of 20 children. We will know the finalised list by half term. We will, then, do home visits (myself or another member of staff with a TA) during June. The children will then come for four visits, two mornings and two afternoons, in the first week in July. Then in September, the oldest children will be full-time from the start, with the others part-time for the first two weeks.

 

So looking forward to a Year R class after R/1 for about 15 years although I might be posting on here for advice!!!!

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I agree with what everyone has says and the key to me seems to be flexibility - (I am not a teacher however) and as someone says your parents as partners should be at the heart of your decision. It's hard to group all the children in chronological date order, as we all know children do not come in nice neat little tick boxes but there again just how do you operate without some sort of policy and as we know the policy could change year on year. For example this year we have only 12 children leaving us for school, whereas next year (2006) we will have 22 leaving. This impact causes a number of problems i.e. group dynamics and financial issues and it may be that the way you are funded might dictate how you introduce the children in addition to what parents want but may not necessarily be right for the child. Sorry you know all this which is why you have posted the question - so I'll leave now just after I have said that "educating the parent" in what is best for the child rather than what is best for the parent is probably the hardest thing to do.

 

I think the saying goes along the lines of "you can please some of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time"

 

So just how much help has this been - None whatsoever!!

 

Nikki

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We usually have the children doing part time for the first couple of weeks, but this year Ihave decided to get them in pretty much straight away. They are going to do mornings/afternoons for a couple of days during the first week back as it isnt a full week with inset and then the following week get them all in (I have only 21)

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Susan, I like the idea of matching the attendance pattern the child had at Nursery / Preschool ( although you say you would have preferred part time for longer)

Since the NEG and other financial help for parents WFTC etc, the number of sessions attended by children is a lot higher now (say compared to 5 yrs ago).

I have quite a few children who attend 10 sessions per week and when they start school will be reducing to 5 morning sessions only for a whole term.

Yes, parents should put their childs needs first but if a parent is travelling back and forth between home and school up to 6 times a day ( often with a younger sibling in tow) that is 30 times a week, it can be quite exhausting to say the least.

The media often reports on the time parents spend strategically managing work / home / school travel arrangements.

 

Peggy

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Most of our reception children come from our nursery class so obviously our issues are not the same as everyones but they usually do two weeks either morning or afternoon matched to their nursery session. The next week they all come in for the morning followed by lunch then they go home because we feel lunchtimes are quite an ordeal for them. Usually they then all come in full-time in the fourth week with some exceptions if teachers and parents feel it would be better for them to continue part-time, although this rarely happens as they've all been attending 5 days a week for a year.

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Hi Peggy

most of the children in the school I was in were coming to us from State Nurseries rather than private pre-schools. So they were mostly part time. A few did have full time places depending on need and we tried to keep these children full time too but they actually found it quite difficult because of the different lunch times. We did not have sleeping facilities either, which some of the younger children may have been used to, at home if not at nursery, but we did try to keep your afternoons fairly low key to help this and the child that nodded off was allowed to sleep!

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