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New Starters



We want to wish a very warm (if virtual) welcome to St Mary's Catholic Academy to all of our new families. This page is just for you and we hope you will find it really useful! In the coming days and weeks we will post lots of useful information including details of virtual welcome videos, small group induction visits, songs and rhymes sessions, information booklets and lots more.


If you would like to find out more details about the starting school procedures, staff, environment, curriculum and much, much more please do watch the ‘Parents Induction Meeting’ video which will be posted here in the coming weeks.  Also you can read further detail about the approach to curriculum throughout the school through 'vehicles' in the learning section of our website.  


Class pages for the current Nursery and Reception classes (follow the pupils menu) will give you a taste of what is on offer through our exciting and enriching curriculum here at St Mary's so please take a look with your child, there is lots to be excited about!


Meanwhile stay safe and we hope to see or hear from you soon.



     Video coming soon!






Photo coming soon






Photo coming soon

Mrs Reid 

Reception Class Teacher


Miss Knobbs

Nursery Class Teacher







Photo coming soon






Photo coming soon

Mrs Hall

Teaching Assistant 


Miss Moore

Teaching Assistant



School Readiness


At this point in the year there is always much discussion about school readiness. Depending on what you read this may make you feel like celebrating, my child can already do all of this, down, oh no my child will never do this, or a little bit of both. The truth is there are no hard fast rules and here at St Mary's we recognise that our children come from different backgrounds, having all had different experiences. A child may flourish in one area of development but need more support in another area. There are however lots of things you can do with your child at home to make their start of school experience easier. 


Below we have listed a few activities that you can be doing with your child daily to encourage skills such as listening, independence and sharing that they will all need in school. There are activities for Nursery starters and activities for Reception starters. Please do these as often as you can (daily is  recommended) to help get them off to a great start.






Nursery Activities Reception Activities

Physical Development

Self help skills are important so encourage your child to carry out some of their daily routine without support. 

Can they get out their own underwear and put it on, pull up trousers, put on and take off their own pyjamas, put shoes on without help. It would be good to get them used to putting school shoes and PE pumps on so you could practise with these once you have them ready for school.

Physical Development

Self help skills are important so encourage your child to carry out some of their daily routine without support. 

Can your child dress and undress themselves ready for the day, taking care of their belongings by putting them away. Encourage your child to put on their own coat and do the fastening on it. 

Communication and language.

Sing songs and nursery rhymes with your child. There is much evidence to suggest a link between early nursery rhyme singing and later academic success. The links below will take you to some useful sites that will support you in this if you are not familiar with the words or just want to try some new nursery rhymes. 

Communication and language.

Good listening skills can be taught at home and will support your child in fully accessing our curriculum in Reception class. You can encourage this by reading stories, magazine articles, comics etc and talking about them with your child. Book start has some suggestions and ideas for discussion but your local library can also be a source for useful guides and a whole host of new and exciting stories. This doesn't need to be a new or full story each day, sometimes it will be enough to read the start and talk about what you think might happen next. Repeating the same story a few times gives children the opportunity to join in with the words they can remember and start to develop their own storytelling language. 

Why sing nursery rhymes?


BBC nursery rhymes

Reading with your child 

Bookstart books.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

It will be important when children come to school that they are able to ask for help when they need it. You can encourage your child to do this at home rather than pre-empting what they need. Perhaps provide tea with no cutlery so they are encouraged to ask for items they need. This also applies to emotional needs, encourage your child to talk about how they feel, particularly if upset and what they need to feel happy again. 

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

It is important that children know how to share and get along with friends, this is an area they may have missed out on during the lockdown, especially if there are no other young children at home. The early learning that feeds into this this can start at home anyway.  Don't always let your child always have their own way, (Easier said than done, we know!! ) One example of this might be the use of electronic devices, if your child wants to play on an tablet, tell them that you will read a story / draw a picture together first and then they can use the tablet. This helps children understand that sometimes they may need to wait for what they want. 


Encourage your child to start to recognise their own name, this will help them to take care of their belongings in school. They can do this by helping you label their new uniform, looking at cards / letters with their name on. Spotting the letters of their name in books or on labels, start with the sound at the start for example for the name Sarah look for 's'.


Encourage your child to start to tune into sounds in words and rhyme. Play games such as eye spy, start with sounds at the start of words, for example eye spy with my little eye, 5 things that start with 's'. You could move this one by encouraging them to blend sounds (this means put the sounds in words together) for example eye spy with my little eye a c-a-t. 

Maths Maths


Alongside the activities suggested by our experienced teaching staff there is a host of useful information available on the internet to support parents and children (particularly this year) with the transition into school. Some of the links we would recommend are listed below but this list is not exhaustive. They provide further activities you can complete with your child in preparation for school or support and advice for children and parents who may find this transition a source of anxiety. 




Twinkl - parent blogs. 

A series of blogs covering a range of topics that are commonly discussed during transition and early days in school. They contain useful hints and tips on how to overcome a  particular challenge you may be facing such as toileting, independence, storytelling, listening skills and confidence etc.


Stoke Speaks Out 

A charity website that has an exciting and informative parent and carers section detailing communication milestones, activities and downloads, tips on using technology and gadgets appropriately . The city songbirds nursery rhyme page has words and audio tracks to help support you teaching new nursery rhymes to your child



BBC Bitesize - transition 

Guidance, activities, videos and support put together with the DfE to support transition into school particularly in the wake of the Coronovirus pandemic. 



Read along stories to share with your child.Useful hints and tips on talking about stories with your child.