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Preparing to start school

Starting school is the start of a new adventure for your child.  Below you will find some useful resources to help you and your child to prepare for life in Reception. 

We have included some activity suggestions that you can use at home, including an introduction to the phonics approach that we use at DPA.


When preparing to introduce any of the suggested activities with your child make sure it is a time when they are ready to engage, learning should be fun for everyone.  Outside is a great place to learn, included here are many activities that can be explored outside.


There are also some website links at the bottom of the page which you may find useful to watch!


My name

  • Can your child find their name?  Create a scavenger hunt around the house to see how many places they can see their name.  Maybe they could use a device to take a picture every time they find their name.  Talk about the differences and similarities between each picture.
  • Cut up pieces of paper with the names of family members or significant others, can your child find their name amongst others (begin with just a couple of different names)?
  • Use a tray or cake tin lid and add a thin layer of salt, use this to make patterns using a finger, this could lead on to exploring the letters in your child's name.

Getting dressed

  • When getting changed talk about what to put on/take off first, then next.
  • There are many picture cards available online that can be printed and ordered to help.
  • Encourage your child to practise putting on and taking off their own coat and shoes. Show them how to do up a zip and support them with having a go themselves.
  • Remember that we are not expecting the children to be completely independent, but having had some experience of having a go themselves will help to approach PE with confidence.

Funky fingers

  • Make some playdough for your child to explore, be adventurous by adding different colours/herbs/spices. You will find some recipes here:
  • There are lots of dough disco songs on YouTube
  • Let your child play with the peg bag, squeezing pegs is a great way to strengthen hands.  If you make a washing line be careful to ensure that this doesn't become a hazard.
  • Threading things such as Cheerios or penne pasta.

Phonic awareness

Outdoor fun

  • A bucket of water and a paint brush can provide hours of entertainment and believe it or not can really help when your child begins to write.
  • A small broom with soapy water can create lots of bubbly fun on hard ground.
  • A washing up bowl with recycled pots and containers of various sizes.
  • Use your collection of old or holey socks and add them to the sand pit with spoons.
  • Go on a bug hunt.
  • Plant some sunflowers or beans.
  • On a sunny day take out toy animals, place them on a sheet of paper and encourage your child to draw around the shadow.


  • Take time every day to share a book.
  • Encourage repeat readings of favourite books and let your child be the story teller.
  • Take time to look closely at pictures in books, ask open questions and encourage curiosity.





Be Kind, Be Brilliant