Back to school motivation!

Just some pictures that I find inspiring and uplifting! Looking forward to beginning a new school year! What are you looking forward to? Summer holidays can be a busy time for parents and expensive! I am looking forward to getting to know my new class. I am also looking forward to planning exciting activities and teaching them. Are your children excited to get back to school? What are they looking forward to!






Settling in. *For parents of Early Years Children!


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In my last post I spoke about going back to school. Many schools approach settling in weeks in different ways. In my opinion, schools which approach this in a slow, easy transition can help children become confident and gradually become comfortable in their surroundings.

Most parents and children are able to visit their future classroom and meet their teacher before the previous academic year breaks up. As the summer is winding down now it would be a good idea to discuss this event with your child. Your child may not be able to re-call this event in detail but you can help them by discussing what you saw, what you did and the different elements of the class.

A lovely thing you can do with your child is to read a story about starting school. Their are several books online or in your local bookshop. The visual element of pictures and the familiar routine of reading stories with a loved one will help your child to understand what happens at school. Explain that they will be going to school to make lots of new friends and learn new exciting things.

Often children are surprised at the emotions they go through when separated from parents for a time or when they are in an unfamiliar place. During this adjustment period I feel it vital to talk to your child about how they are feeling. Did they cry? Did they feel sad/lonely? Why? Talk it through with them. Explain that everyone feels like this but explain it will become easier. Ensure you discuss the negative feelings but focus on the positive. Did they speak to anyone nice? Did the other children play with them? What toys,games or activities did they play?

Have any of you deal with this before? How did you manage? Share your experiences! 🙂

Back to school!


Hello everyone!

I hope you have all had a wonderful summer and enjoyed spending time with your children! Its hard to believe the summer is nearly over and it is time to prepare for September. As a teacher of Early years I am going to focus this post on younger children who are preparing to begin Nursery and Reception but most of this content is relevant to all primary school age children. Your child should have been introduced to their new teacher and other adults who will be working in their classroom before the Summer Holidays. For younger children this might be something they will need to be reminded off through simple conversations or re-call activities. For example asking your child what is their teachers/class name? What does it look like? What toys, activities, games were in the classroom? You can promote this in a positive way by phrasing questions in an enthusiactic way such as “What are you most looking forward to” etc.

When I was preparing to leave my last class in July and preparing them for a transition to Year One, I received many questions about why they had to move. For Nursery and Reception age children their classroom becomes a safe place where they feel in control and take ownership of it. Moving to a new class can be a confusing and sometimes upsetting time for some children. I spent a lot of time explaining to the class that as they get older they learn new things. and by the end of each year they have done such a fantastic job that they are ready for a new class. I also encouraged them to think back to the beginning of the year and showed pictures of the first day. I encouraged children to discuss the things they can do now that they could not do one year ago.i.e reading. writing. playing tennis, speaking aloud to the class etc. I explained that because they have learned all of these things they are ready for a new year.

On of the thing I notice that children struggle most about in September is energy levels. A lot of children enjoy different bed times and more free time and rest during the holidays and getting back to a structured routine can be difficult. With about two weeks to go, now is a good time to re- introduce routines. School year bed times and waking up times can be gradually implemented. It is also important to get your child use to eating at school meal times. You may find giving your child a larger breakfast and offering fruit as a mid-morning snack helpful to keep them going till lunch time.

Also another little tip for Mums and Dad; Once you get information from school, pencil it in! Calenders, diaries or even your smartphone- mark down all holidays, breaks, inset days and important school dates for your children! It’s helpful for you to keep on top of everything and will make you feel more organised.

Thanks for reading, any comments or questions welcome! 🙂

Mark Making & Fine Motor Skills!

The first thing I have decided to blog about is mark making and all the many areas of learning it links with! For anyone who is unfamiliar with the term it means the stage of development where a child begins to experiment with deliberately making marks, scribbles, patterns or shapes. I have had many conversations with parents who believe this is only done with a pencil but I always explain it is much more than that.

Personally I believe that using paint, mud, water, sand, clay or any other material is the first step to mark making. Materials including liquids, solids or  malleable materials can be so helpful and fun for children to begin understand how to use their hands to create! It is an amazing thing for a child to experience a cause and effect situation with a material for the first time. Even most adults enjoy the feel of sand and water! 

For parents of toddlers, I would recommend any hands-on play which involves experimenting or  manipulating different materials. This is not only developing fine motor skills, but also hand-eye coordination as the children will be watching what they are creating. Another important part of this is Creative and Critical thinking. This is something which was including in the UK Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in 2012. This involves children;

  • having their own ideas
  • using what they already know to learn new things
  • choosing ways to do things and finding new ways to do things.

This form of thinking can be promoted and explored from an early age by giving children freedom to play with materials and resources where their learning is not limited. I understand children love the colourful and expensive toys in shops, but how much fun and interest do they really get from them? From a developmental point of view I would argue that when children play with sand, water, mud, clay etc they are in control and can build and play as they like. 


I have so much more I could write about in this but I will save it for separate entries. This type of mark making is something that can be started with very young children and continued as they get older. I believe children should be given time to explore using materials and making marks in many different environments to become confident writers in later stages of childhood!


My next post will continue this topic of mark making.

Have a wonderful day! 🙂



Getting started!

Morning everybody!
Its a beautiful morning here in sunny London and I am excited to see my blog taking shape. This post is simply a brief outline in which direction I wish to take this blog. I will post frequently about different areas of learning and expand on this by showing photographs and resources which will support the activity.

As I hope to start with something quite general, I have decided to make my first few posts an introduction to early writing skills. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the terms, this will entail strategies, games and activities that can help a child to develop their fine motor skills and tool handling. Getting started with this from an early age can really benefit children long term. I have seen and heard about many children who find holding a pencil difficult when they start school and I hope to show parents how they can give their children the best start.

Nothing I post will be about academic success or “teaching” children at home. I want to make it clear that I believe play and developing an interest in the world around them is the most important thing you can do for your child.

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I hope to pass on knowledge I have acquired from working in many schools and Early Years settings to parents who want to be involved in their child’s learning.

My first early writing post is to follow later today!

Have a wonderful day,

Miss Sunshine Learning