Our preschool group, the Gorillas, is obviously the last stop before children head off to reception. As such, our aim is to provide as smooth a transition to reception as possible, offering every child extensive opportunities to develop into confident, active and avid learners. In the spring-time, school readiness kicks into high-gear as the preschool team prepare the children for this huge transition, and the room leader will create a school-readiness outline for parents to see what the group will be doing over the course of the run-up to reception.
- Outside classroom – Our cabin located in the garden becomes a classroom for our school-leavers in the spring time as they engage in more school-based activities. These are an extension of the phonics, writing, and maths work they already do in the main room, but differentiated for their needs as school-leavers. Kaila, the persona doll, also visits them here and the children engage in discussions about their schools and the transition.
- Role play – In the outside classroom, children have access to dressing up uniforms, two school desks and images from and of their schools. We encourage families to donate old uniforms so as many of the children can dress up as possible.
- Persona Doll – Kaila makes fortnightly visits to the Gorillas. Her role is to promote conversation about the school transition from feelings to reception expectations. In the past, she’s talked about being a bit scared going to a place where she doesn’t know anyone, which has naturally opened up lively conversations about the children’s own feelings and how to deal with them.
- Books – The nursery has a wide selection of books that support discussion about school expectations and facilitate conversation about children’s thoughts.
- School visits – Quite a few of our children attend Brunswick school located behind the nursery and we endeavor to get Young Friends children put into the same classes so there are familiar faces with them. In December, the Gorilla group attend their Christmas play rehearsals in to see the school and old friends. When schools are confirmed, the team put up a list of where children are going so that parents can make links with each other and the team can contact each child’s school, requesting brochures and information that we can use here in the nursery.
- Transfer documents – While not a requirement, the Gorilla team prepare transfer documents at the end of a child’s time here to be sent to his or her school. The document is very similar to our termly progress reports and provides information about where the child’s learning and development is such as ability to write/recognize own name.
At the end of their time here, we like to make a big fuss of the children, so each child has a leaving party and receives a Preschool Certificate. In the summer, we also take a “family photo” of sorts with the Gorilla team and children. These are included in their leaving packets along with their Tapestry journals.
Please see our preschool leaflet for more detailed information about the Gorilla group.