Monnow School pilot project

Historically, early years transitions to nursery and reception at Monnow Primary School (Monnow) have been “Stay and Play” sessions where the children’s previous setting, or the parent/carer brought their child into our nursery environment for an hour at a time, in small groups. This was usually started in the half-term before the children joined Monnow and took place roughly fortnightly. We realised that these sessions were putting pressure on parents and children and increasing anxiety, and we weren’t getting the best picture of the child and their family environment.

Using Forest School to help with transition

In 2021, facilitated by the Bettws Early Learning Community, Monnow School held around 22 transition sessions in our Forest School throughout the summer, for the children and their parents/carers who were transitioning into nursery and reception. These sessions:

  • Created a space for the children to play together and make friends,
  • Enabled them to get to know the teachers and the school
  • Created a space for the teaching staff to engage with the parents in a way that there hadn’t been an opportunity to before
Arrows in a circle

We found this broke down barriers: families were communicating some of their fears and concerns around their child starting school.

They created a space for parents to talk to other parents and understand that their fears and concerns were the same as other parents.

This sense of community has may have already been present with this group of parents, however what these sessions did was create a sense of positivity and comradery not only with each other, but with the teaching and support staff too.  By breaking down these barriers, we were able to go deeper into the family dynamic to refer and support where needed.

Subsequently, as the children started school in September we noticed that they were more confident, trusting and have settled really well in the school routine and environment.

How we are learning?

A toolkit/intervention will be developed based on the voices of children, parents, practitioners from existing transitions work such as the forest school stay and play, home visits and group events.

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