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Is your little one about to start school in September? Apart from thinking ‘where did the time go?’ You might also be worrying that they’re just not ready or that they still seem so little – how will they cope? The good news is that they almost always surprise you! But there are little things you can do at home to ease the transition to ‘big school’. Here we give you our very best picks for getting children prepared for their newest adventure.

Here are our Learning Bugs top tips for Back To School Essentials;

The Tale of Starting School Book

We’ve teamed up with the brilliant Tales of Me to bring you their Tales of Starting School Book. It’s wonderful! Designed by teachers to help children and parents turn their big starting school adventure into a personalised tale in order to create a better understanding of the changes ahead. By filling in the book together with their own pictures, children can begin to visualise themselves at the centre of their new school, making the big day less daunting. It’s a long time for children waiting to start their new school, filling in and personalising their tale opens the opportunity for children to use this time to discuss what is happening, express any worries they may have or ask any questions during the build up to the event.

The books have been made to be hardy and durable so that once they have been completed they can be read as often as children choose to read them and they then become a treasured memory of an important milestone to keep forever.

Skills For School Cards

If your little one has been to nursery school chances are you’ll have some understanding of the Early Years Foundation Stage. This is the curriculum that children entering the reception year of school will be taught, activities will be set up to ensure that children are meeting the criteria set out by the government and that they are working towards their natural next steps in learning (where ever that may be).

Children will be guided, through play to meet the objectives. There are 7 areas of learning and early years educators strongly agree that the best way for children to learn is through play. Inspire, Create, Play have come up with the perfect prompt cards to both build on children’s pre-school experiences and also assist them in their transition in to school and throughout their early years. Each set contains 30 play based activity cards that are linked by colour to the skills set out in the Early Years Curriculum.

They’re full of quick, easy to set up or carry out games and activities to do at home that will help them with their learning across all areas. Perfect for parents, childminders and early years educators.

Wellies

If there’s one thing your little learner will need for school, it’s wellies. You can guarantee that they’ll be outside, making mud pies and riding trikes come what may! And with most schools offering a free flow policy between indoor and outdoor learning you can be sure they’ll be outside whatever the weather. We absolutely adore the colour revealing wellies by Grass and Air. The raindrops change colour when they get wet, which just made jumping in muddy puddles even more appealing!

These wellies feature a fleece lining so will keep your kids feet warm and toasty and a removeable lining to ensure they’ll dry again in no time! And they come in a handy drawstring bag too. Perfect!

Name Board

When children start school, recognising their name is one of the first things they will learn. Their name is personal to them, it has importance and meaning. They will begin to recognise the letters as symbols that have meaning. This will help them recognise other letters as they begin to relate letters to sounds. Help your child to recognise their name with this personalised Little Coach House Woodworks wooden name tracing board. Great for tracing and filling the letters with loose parts too.

A great way to also minimise mess for you but also encourage independent play is to offer or set up an ‘invitation to play’ where you select certain toys and resources that will inspire play. There’s so much inspiration on Instagram for this so have a search of #invitationtoplay for great ideas you can set up easily at home or use small world play set ups that lend themselves easily to this type of play.

Lunch Bag

Looking for something to keep your little ones snacks in one place? These gorgeous, environmentally friendly lunch bags are just the thing. Made from 100% organic cotton they can easily be popped inside a school bag. Just tie their ears into a knot and take these little follows along on their big adventure.

Pencils

We all need to hear a bit of positivity, especially when were going through change.  The Stib Inspirational Jumbo Pencils come in a pack of 12 vibrant colours, each of which has a ‘positive’ word embossed on it. What a gorgeous way to inspire your little one even when you’re not there! Positive affirmations include; Peace Keeper, Earth Lover, Joy Finder, Big Thinker, Self Believer, World Changer, Story Teller, Problem Solver, Good Listener, Freestyler, Great Leader & Team Player. Just gorgeous! And they also come with a set of stickers that can be used to decorate their Stib tub, as we all know – kids love stickers!

Wooden Alphabet Discs

These fantastic wooden discs with letters are an excellent tool to help in the early stages of learning the alphabet. They help learning through recognising letters, writing and reading. Perfect to use during various activities like learning the sound and shape of letters, sorting their order in the alphabet or making words. Use them to help reinforce the phonics sounds your child is learning that week at school. Helping to further reinforce one or two phonics sounds through play, at home is a really great way to support your child’s reading journey.

If you’re really wanting to encourage independent play then using guided resources and toys is a sure fire win and can be a good differentiation from open ended toys. Creating and using busy bags, arts and crafts activities or small-world play set ups will encourage children to ‘find’ the game or play they’ve been presented with much easier and may also open the door to other types of imaginative play over time.

 If you’re wanting more ideas for Independent Play then pin this blog to read later and follow Learning Bugs on Pinterest for more play ideas…

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