• Pre-Prep
How can I prepare my child for starting school?

by Reception teacher, Mrs Lucy Smith

Your child starting school can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Parents often wonder what they can do during the summer holidays to prepare their child to start in their new Reception class. I have compiled a list of things that you can do to help get your child ready to start Reception class in September. It is not a tick list and no parent should worry if their child is unable to achieve the following ideas. Instead, I hope the information will help you support your child in getting ready for the very exciting transition to school.

Willingness to communicate

Being able to communicate with their friends and teachers is a very important skill for every child to have as they start Reception. Your child needs to feel confident in asking for help as and when they need it. At home, encourage your child to talk clearly and confidently and have fun exploring and questioning the world around them.

Being independent

At Millfield Pre-Prep, your child will be encouraged to have a go at doing lots of tasks on their own, especially in terms of organising their own belongings. Help your child to remember what items they have with them and give them the responsibility of looking after them. It helps to make sure every item is clearly named. Also encourage your child to help with simple chores and take on the responsibility of tidying up their own belongings, such as putting their own Lego away.


Mike Jory with Pre-Prep Children

Share books with your child every day and help them to learn how to handle books, recognise familiar characters and join in with repeated phrases. Make hunting for sounds a fun activity by looking for them wherever you go, especially those in their name.

Scissors and pencils

Using pencils and scissors can be tricky for little hands! At home, allow your child to explore, experiment and practise these skills by mark making and cutting a variety of materials. You can help to improve your child’s fine motor skills by playing threading games, using tweezers and manipulating small objects, like making small snails out of play dough.

Personal Care

It is really helpful if your child can use the toilet on their own and manage their own hygiene. Teachers will be there to help any child who needs support, but independence in this area is important. At home, encourage your child to have a go at toileting (washing and drying their hands) on their own and praise their independence! Also encourage your child to blow their own nose and put the tissue in the bin. Never underestimate the importance of good quality sleep. It is recommended that children have on average 10 hours sleep at night. A good bedtime routine is vital.


Being able to count is a fundamental skill which is vital in everyday life. Help your child to develop an enthusiasm for numbers by counting anything and everything such as steps, cars, sounds and actions.

Dressing and undressing

Pre-Prep pupils enjoying the Forest School during outdoor learning

At Millfield Pre-Prep, the children will change regularly for PE, Forest School and swimming lessons. This can be very time-consuming for children who cannot dress themselves, while they wait for an adult to help. At home, encourage your child to turn their clothes the correct way round, have a go at pulling on those tricky socks or tights and attempt fiddly buttons or zips.


Pre Prep Food

At school the children will eat lunch with their friends and teachers. At Millfield Pre-Prep, the children are encouraged to use a knife and fork (although spoons will be available), as well as sit at a table to eat. At home, teach your child to use a knife and fork correctly and to be as tidy as possible when eating. It is important to have family meals together as they are great opportunities for developing conversation and social skills.

I hope that these suggestions can help you and your child to feel ready and excited for the transition to school in September. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

Find out more about Millfield Pre-Prep here or book our next Open Day to come and visit the school and talk with our Head of Pre-Prep.