Forestdale Primary School

Getting Ready for School

At Forestdale Primary School we believe that Early Years education is vitally important as it provides the foundation for future learning.  We are committed to providing the most appropriate learning environment to meet the needs of young children.

Starting school is a big step in your child’s life.  We aim to make this an enjoyable, happy experience.  This page contains information to help both you and your child prepare for this important, exciting event.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.     How can we find out more about Forestdale Primary School and what to expect in September?

A.      Please see the Starting School PowerPoint and download the All About My New School Booklet. Both can be found below.  

Q.    What are the school times?

A.    Doors open from 8.45am, school starts at 8.55am and finishes at 3.10pm. 

Q.    Are hot meals provided for lunch?

A.    Yes. All reception children are eligible for a free Universal Free School Meal.  

Q.   Can my child have milk at breaktime?

A.    All children under 5 are entitled to free school milk.  If you wish your child to receive a carton of milk each day please complete the form that you will find in your Welcome to Reception pack or register online .  Once your child reaches their 5th birthday you can continue with the scheme but will be required to pay.  

Q.      Is there a breakfast and after school club?

A.    Children can attend Forestdale’s Robin Club; the school’s own breakfast and after school provision. Children must be registered and allocated a place in advance.

Q.    What can we do at home to help prepare our child for school?

A.  Please see all the information below under the heading How Can You Help Your Child Prepare?


All About My New School 

My New School is a booklet designed to prepare reception children for starting Forestdale school. It has been put together by our reception team and contains photographs and information from where the children enter the building in the morning to where they will hang their coats. 


Starting School PowerPoint for Parents


How Can You Help Your Child Prepare?


It is important to remember that children learn at different rates and learning is not a race or a competition.  Our staff will always praise effort and will help children recognise that we learn from our mistakes.


‘All different. All special. All achieving.’


Your child will need to be given lots of encouragement and praise for his or her efforts to help build up his or her self-esteem and confidence.


Here are some ideas for activities that you can do together in order to help prepare your child for starting school.  You probably do many of these already:


Developing personal, social and emotional awareness

One of the greatest skills that you can teach your children is that of independence in terms of getting dressed.  If your child can button and unbutton their shirt, put on their socks and shoes independently and fasten their coat, they will find getting ready for PE, playtimes and the end of the day much easier.


  • Encourage your child to dress and undress independently. Let your child try on their uniform so that they are accustomed to any fastenings and turning clothes back in the right way.
  • Practise doing up coats, shoes, buttons and zips.
  • Practise opening and closing the book bag - they can even practise putting a book and sheet of paper into the book bag - this will help them be ready to bring home examples of their art work and learning without it getting damaged.
  • Teach your child to use the toilet independently and to wash his or her hands afterwards.
  • Encourage your child to put things away when he or she has finished using them.
  • Teach your child to use a knife and fork.
  • Teach your child to drink from a cup.
  • Encourage turn taking and sharing when your child plays games with siblings, friends or with yourself. 
  • Ensure bedtime routines are well established - your child will be very tired after a long day at school, therefore a clear bedtime routine is important.


How can you help to support your child to develop mathematically?

  • Take every opportunity to practise counting with your child, e.g. counting stairs, sweets and cars you see going past.
  • Encourage your child to sort and group things by colour, shape or size, e.g. socks, clothes, buttons etc.
  • Look for numbers everywhere.
  • Let your child help you to set the table and count out the correct number of knives, forks and spoons needed.
  • Look at and talk about the colour and shape of things.
  • Talk about the size of things e.g. long, short, tall, longer, shorter, taller.
  • Discuss the position of things e.g. under, over, above, below, in front, behind, next to, between.
  • Make a pretend shop and let your child use real coins to ‘buy’ items.
  • Let your child help with the cooking. This could involve sharing, talking about heavy and light and measuring ingredients.

Mathematics at Forestdale 

At Forestdale Primary School we will provide a language rich environment in order to help children develop as confident speakers and listeners.


How can I help my child develop their language and Literacy?

  • Look at labels and signs as you shop or go for a walk e.g. talk about the sounds at the beginning of words e.g. ‘m’ for Mummy.
  • Play ‘I spy’ type games; use the sound of the letters not the name (‘a’ as in apple, not ‘a’ as in ape). Go on a scavenger hunt and find objects in the house that start with a particular letter. 
  • Listen to stories together
  • Encourage your child to ask for help when needed and to ask and answer questions. If somebody asks your child a question, give him or her time to think and try not to provide the answer yourself.


How can I help pre - writing skills?

  • To help develop pre-writing skills encourage your child to draw, colour and do tracings, including drawing around their hand or tracing patterns in sand, play foam or rice.
  • If your child is keen and ready, he or she can trace their name in simple print.
  • Let your child see you write for different purposes such as notes, shopping lists and letters. This will show him or her the reason for writing.  Praise and encourage any attempts that your child makes to write.
  • Help your child develop their fine and gross motor skills by helping them thread beads or pasta onto string, stacking items into piles such as coins or bolts.
  • Help support a correct pencil grip. Use the pinch and flip technique to encourage children to place their pointer and thumb fingers at the front.



Pinch                                          Flip


How can I help my child develop their language skills?

  • Help your child practise expressing who they are, their name, age and something about their family, what they like and dislike; this will help them make new friends when they start school.
  • Make observations and show curiosity; talk about things that you see along a journey or walk, encourage your child to predict and ask questions - ‘I wonder where that big red bus is going?’
  • Plan ‘time to talk’ for just a few minutes each day without the distractions such as the TV.

English, Phonics and Reading at Forestdale  



My child is bilingual, how can I work with the school in preparation for September?

Speaking more than one language is a positive and beneficial skill which should be celebrated and valued both at school and at home.  Bilingualism can have many positive benefits for children, and the first language has a continuing and significant role in developing a child's identity, in supporting their learning and in the acquisition of additional languages.  At Forestdale Primary School we will always celebrate the child's home language and culture.


During our home and nursery visits we will use this opportunity to learn more about your child's language skills both in their home language as well as in English.  If appropriate, we may work together to make a 'language poster' with the parents' help, adding phrase that we may want to know. In the current climate nursery and home visits may have to be carried out virtually. Further details to follow. 


Top Tips for Parents:


  • Speak to your child in the language that you feel most comfortable with - it is the quality of the interaction that is important, it does not matter which language you use.
  • Support your child in a rich language experience: introduce your child to stories, songs, rhymes and poems in your home language and talk to them about things you see and do.


Further advice can be found on


Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years  are childcare professionals whom have a great deal of experience in helping children cope with times of transition.  Click the image below to see their top tips to help you prepare your child for starting school.