Garswood Reception Induction
Every year the Spring and Summer terms in Reception class are incredibly exciting and busy ones for Garswood’s Reception team with the welcome and induction of new families to our school community.
Virtual Reception Induction?
This year, we are rethinking how to best engage with families and children in a brand new way as we attempt to remotely support both wellbeing and learning and Induction. But what does a remote or virtual induction look like?
At Garswood Primary we were clear from the start that we wanted to ensure children, parents and carers were given the opportunity to feel welcomed, set at ease and supported as they transitioned either from our own school nursery with the fantastic Mrs Cripps or from the wide range of other local settings.
Mrs Bagshaw, our amazing Reception lead has already visited our new starters to give them a doorstep, social distanced “hello” from the end of their path and dropped off our induction pack. This should hopefully ensure a familiar face will be greeting our new starters on day one of their journey to ‘big school’
We would usually include a meeting for parents, opportunities for children to visit the school setting for transition days and mix with our established 5 year old Reception experts, and supply parents and carers with some resources and expectations to prepare children for their journey. This year a lot of these tried and trusted techniques have not been possible. So we’ve been thinking outside the box!
We identified the following aspirations based on this thinking....
- We wanted new families to feel a warm welcome to Garswood;
- We wanted to give families an opportunity to visualise the school setting and get a glimpse into life at Garswood and the Reception Year;
- We wanted to give families the opportunity to share any worries, concerns, and excitement, and ask questions as they would in a face-to-face induction;
- We wanted families to start to become familiar with and to get to know staff, and for staff to begin to build relationships with families;
- We wanted some level of two-way communication, not just school giving information;
- We wanted to help children to start to feel familiar with the Reception environment;
- Most of all, we wanted families and children to feel a sense of belonging to the Garwood community.
Welcome to our webpage! This should be a starting point. One of our steps was to establish a webpage specially for new Reception children starting Garswood. This has allowed us to put all of the information, photos of the environment, videos, booklets, online sessions, video ideas and much more in one central place that would be easy to find for our new parents.
We also decided to set up a specific Reception email account so that parents could communicate directly with the team. For us this was essential as not only could we quickly reassure and address any concerns, but we could also use this as a channel for parents to share their children’s engagement with our Garswood induction.
Please feel free to email us with any of your worries, concerns or questions to email@example.com and Mrs Bagshaw, Mrs Potter or another member of our Reception team will be able to respond.
Induction Meeting for Parents:
We very quickly decided that we wanted to film an induction meeting and tour of the school so that parents did not miss out on these essential sessions. Although there were negatives – such as not having the opportunity to meet families in person and answer any questions in a face-to-face meeting – there were many positives: using video and a range of areas in the school we could do a much better job of presenting the school environment, and we could cut out waffle and ensure that the messages had real clarity and were concise. In addition, a real benefit was that parents could watch and re-watch if they wish, when they chose to do so – no more worrying about child-care or running date/rescheduling other commitments as the meeting is on our school website.
Doorstep Induction meetings for children:
Mrs Bagshaw has taken great delight in visiting children in or ‘at’ their own homes to wave and say hello and have a chat to our new starters. This was vital for us at Garswood as that ‘familiar’ face they remember greeting them on day one can be the start of a trusting relationship.
Mrs Bagshaw also used our virtual world to film some fantastic videos and introduce videos that are already available. ‘Introduction and Belonging’, ‘Numbers’, ‘Listening Carefully and Exploring Sounds’, ‘Rhyme and Tuning into Sounds’, and ‘Dough Disco’ are just some of the opportunities that are available.
We have managed to get an Induction pack to all of our new starters now with activities and forms and general routines and ideas that can all be used to prepare children for their new journey to ‘big school’
You can follow us on Twitter @GarswoodPrimary, use your specific Reception email to address any concerns directly with our amazing Reception team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when you start school you will be given your own account to Microsoft Teams to let the virtual journey continue from home.
If you scroll to the bottom of the page, we have videos and documents you can access to show to your children to prepare them for their big first day and what is to come. All there to promote excitement and reassure.
We can’t wait to see you all in person and welcome you to the Garswood community, but we hope, when that time comes, you will already feel like one of our family.
We can’t wait to see you all, stay safe and see you soon (Virtually or otherwise….)