We know that ‘school readiness’ is a focus for many families and the health professionals who support them. This has been a timely reminder for us to publicise the many resources we have at our fingertips to help local and disadvantaged children in preparation for this.
In Surrey*, data suggests that it is low income families which are experiencing poor levels of school readiness, so we want to ensure that we are doing everything possible to support the local health professionals who rely on our services to help the families on their caseload.
Here’s a useful list of how Stripey Stork can help with many of the items needed in preparation for this transition:
We have a continuous supply of books for all ages and levels here at Stripey Stork. The condition is always checked before our book bag bundles are made-up by age.
Books at home support being read to, holding a book and turning the pages, understanding aspects of the narrative and, being able to talk about the characters.
Reading is also a great opportunity for children and parents to bond – which is why a book bundle is always included for every child referred to us.
We have an abundance of good condition toys which teach children all about the world around them. From small world toys which they can immerse themselves in play with and let their imaginations run wild, to role play toys where they can learn how to best deal with certain situations and practise qualities such as good manners, taking responsibility and sharing.
If there is a particular toy request that you have then please ask and if we don’t have this in stock, we may be able to get hold of one for you.
We have a great selection of educational games, from phonics and counting, to problem-solving and memory recall.
Every child loves a pencil case, its treasured contents and writing/colouring books. We can put a bundle together which will have them skipping through those school gates on the first day.
Schools strongly encourage all children to be toilet trained and using the toilet independently by the time they start school. We can support this often difficult quest by providing a potty, training seat, pull ups and spare pants, helping to ensure they have a good start from day one and embarrassing accidents are minimised.
School lunchtime can be a real challenge for those children who are unable to adequately feed themselves – let us help if one of your families needs any plates, bowls, training cups, bowls and cutlery.
Personal hygiene is so important for a child’s confidence. We have shelves of toiletry supplies, such as body wash, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste. We understand that for families desperately struggling to put food on the table, such products can be a luxury item which they can’t always afford.
We always have a supply of school rucksacks for children to keep all of their special school belongings together. We ensure we have a variety of designs to match different personalities and interests. We want them to feel proud wearing it!
We can provide lunchboxes for those children who are planning to take a packed lunch to school, getting this in plenty of time means you can encourage picnics before they start school – this will help with their independence in taking off their own yogurt lids, opening packets and peeling fruit. And no school bag would be complete without a brand new, leak proof water bottle to keep refreshed throughout the day.
We always keep a range of standard school uniform shirts, trousers, skirts and dresses. As well as plimsolls and school shoes – we appreciate that the cost of these alone can be a real financial burden, especially if there are siblings to buy for too.
Wearing appropriate outdoor clothes to brave the elements of the school run is so important to start and end the school day positively. We are well-stocked with winter coats which we save all year round for when the colder weather strikes. Often pupils are required to keep a spare pair of wellies at school for outside play, which can be an added financial burden, so ask and we’ll try and help.
Role Play/Dressing up Clothes
Once school has started, then the party invitations will start flooding in. We are able to supply party clothes and as many birthday parties around this age group are fancy dress themed – we can definitely help any young spidermans or princesses get into character with our costume supply. Then there’s World Book Day on 7th March this year – see our blog on how we supplied 51 costumes to a local school last year.
If a family lives quite a distance from school and has younger children in tow, they may benefit from a buggy, where previously this was no longer required. Sometimes it’s the small adjustments which can make all the difference to a child’s attendance – as is demonstrated in this story of a family we were able to help by easing their walk to and from nursery.
All of the requests we receive are made to order and specific to each child – we want them to feel special. We also want the parents/carers to feel like they are receiving a gift and not a hand out – so we pride ourselves on only redistributing items in excellent condition. We understand how dignity and self-esteem are more important than ever when life isn’t going your way!
Being school-ready is something which parents may feel anxious about, but the important thing is that any gaps in readiness are identified early and steps are put in place to ensure a child is developing the necessary skills required.
Then they’ll be ready, steady, go – to reach their full potential once school has started.
Please remember, we are unable to respond to direct requests from individual families, but if you speak with your healthcare professional or local Sure Start Centre then they’ll be able to make a referral on your behalf. All referrals should be made to [email protected] from the health professional’s work email address.