While tutoring has proven beneficial for older students sitting exams at 7+ and onwards, it isn’t necessarily the answer when it comes to 4+ assessment. In the past, we have carried out sessions at 4+ but these are only usually to address a specific challenge that the child is facing, rather than weekly lessons. We offer instead consultancy to parents about how to prepare and provide some information and guidelines below.
What is being tested?
There is really no substitute for reading when it comes to this part of the 4+. Read to your child as often as possible. Making it part of the routine is key. Before starting this process, give them a wide range of material to choose from. If your child actually picks the book, it is far more likely that they will stay engaged. At this age, it is almost irrelevant what content they are reading. Any exposure to word and sentence structure is a big step in the right direction. Schools are looking to see if your child can read and write basic words. The more often they have seen correct word formations, the better-suited they will be to carry out this task.
Recognise name, spell name, write name, identify name from a list, letter recognition, reading simple short stories, spelling basic words, writing letters.
Maths / Numeracy
In our experience, this is best approached by playing games. Numbers can be fun and there’s absolutely no reason why a child should dread practicing. By the time reception finishes, children should be able to handle numbers one to twenty with regard to visual and phonetic recognition, counting, as well as writing. Activities include but are not exclusive to: playing with dominoes, dice, coins and counting books or household appliances. Cards have proven to be a successful strategy in the past. Shapes are also an integral part of the assessment. We recommend drawing pictures of different shapes on card and writing the name of the shape next door.
Maths / Numeracy goals
Writing numbers, recognising shapes, tracing shapes, pattern recognition, sequences, counting games, counting objects, matching pairs, remembering numbers, puzzles.
Personal, social and emotional skills
This is arguably the most important area of the curriculum. In many ways, the assessment can be approached like a playdate. Naturally, children should be reminded what they are attending but it’s key that this is approached in a relaxed and collected manner by both you and your child. Small things like family dinners round the table and scheduling a weekly meet with another child in the neighbourhood can be particularly useful in this area. Schools are looking for children who are comfortable in their own skin and are confident mixing with others.
Verbal, behavioural and social goals
Sharing, empathy, knowing name, talking about family, singing nursery rhymes, discussing hobbies, socialising, cooperating, free playing, taking turn, general conversation.
Gross and fine motor control
This part of the assessment reviews children’s ability to carry out tasks such as buttoning their coat and tying their shoelaces. It could be described as a more peripheral element of the assessment but is something worth keeping an eye on. We recommend that children carry out fun activities such as playing with dough, beads and Lego, as well engaging in sports with friends. This is actually great news as it can be coupled with the verbal, behavioural and social goals!
Physical/ motor control goals
Kicking a ball, playing on ropes, climbing a frame, playing in sand, football, hitting a ball with a bat.