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I have an issue that I'm hoping somebody can offer advice about. In the new school year I have a little boy starting who has already shown his severe reluctance to come into my Reception setting - or any early years setting in fact! As part of our new intake transition we invite the children to reading sessions (20 mins 3 times a year) where a few reception children and a few rising 5s mix together to enjoy a story in the reception setting - this little boy's mother chose not to include him in these.

 

We also have a half day session where the children come to the reception setting to spend time getting to know it and the staff - when the boy in question came to this he had an extreme reaction of kicking, screaming, swearing, biting... this, I have also been informed, is his usual way of entering his pre-school setting (he has been attending pre-school for 6 months). His brother happened to walk past as we were trying to get the boy into the setting and he then happily walked in with his brother but repeated his performance any time we then tried to seprate the brother so he could go back to class.

 

I offered some more support sessions where mum and his other brothers could come into the setting for short periods of time and play games with me to help to build up a trusting relationship and ease this transition time - 6 were offered and mum only attended 1 - cancelling the others saying she did not have the time. The one that she did attend went really well but I'm sure this has not been enough to calm the obviously deep set fears that this little boy has about separating from mum and atteding school.

 

Has anybody got any advice on how I can help to ease this little boy's first day and subsequent days in my setting?

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Guest LornaW

Hi Marvin

Wow you do have a difficulty here. It sounds as if you have a rather frightened child here! It is important to acknowledge the child's feelings and for all adults in the setting to handle him in the same way.

I would suggest you need to meet with the parents and discuss with them a plan on how they feel he would come in best to the class. Can you make a book for the parents and the child so he know what the welcome time is like and how the day pans out? Parents can then discuss this with the child and also his brother would be a good person to get on board. Also what does he like playing with at home? When you know this you can ensure you have some of this type of equipment, material in class so that when he comes in therre are things that he feels familiar with.

I would suggest to parents that he does not come in with the rest of the children in the morning but that someone brings him into class when you are having child initiated time so that whoever brings him can stay and play and I would make this a short period of time and then they go so that he has a good experience and begins to want to come into class. When he comes in his key person then can come straight over and greet him and show him the routines of peg etc and introduce him to the environment.

(I know that if a child is statutory 5 they should be in school full time but this child has real needs and to ease him in gently may be best for him and for the rest of the class. )

If you do this for the first week and then in the second week the person who brings him to class plays for a while and then goes off for say 5 - 10 minutes and then returns and takes the child home then gradually building up the time until the child can come in happily and settle with the rest of the class.

You will of course need to get your HT to agree and it may be a good idea to talk to the school Ed Psych also but my own experience tells me it is no good bring a child shouting screaming kicking etc into the class you will only upset the other children, yourself and most of all the child will not settle and certainly not be ready to learn.

Good Luck!

Lorna

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Thank you for the advice Lorna.

 

I - like you, agree that he will not be ready to learn if he enters the class like that, and think that he has some emotional issues - since this has been his routine at his playgroup for 6months! I also don't want to upset the other children who will themselves be feeling the usual first week nerves. I did send home a 'starting school' booklet that details our routines using photographs to help but I can't be sure that the parents will share this with him. I will take on board your advice and make a proposal to take to my head teacher.

 

Many thanks again

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Guest LornaW

Another thought Marvin would be to make a home visit and see the child in his own environment - don't go alone but with perhaps your TA. Chat with the family, play a game and then take a photograph of him in his own home. You could put this on his peg and it will be a good reminder of your visit.

Lorna

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