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A rite of passage

My First Day at School. Contender Entertainment Group www.contendergroup.com. pound;7.99 (from high street shops).

This video follows James on the preparation for his first day in Reception class. James and his mum go shopping for a new uniform, pack his lunch and get ready for the big day. Once in school, James meets his new teacher and takes part in the class activities.

Starting school is a big step for children and it can often be an unsettling experience. This 40-minute video aims to reassure children and stimulate discussion about this important day in a fun way. It shows good examples of how parents and carers could positively involve children in preparations before the day. The Reception class was typical of what you would expect to find in any primary school and the video shows the varied activities and routines that occur during the day. It also gives positive images of the things children can sometimes find more difficult, such as playtime, lunch and PE.

The video narration is simple and clear, although the continuous background music can be a distraction.

My First Day at School provides an excellent starting point for children to talk about their their first day. It is particularly aimed at those who have little or no pre-school experience, but could also be used by nurseries and pre-schools to compare and contrast their pupils' experiences with what is to come.

It cannot compensate for a real school visit, however. Each Reception class is different and there is no substitute for calming those first-day nerves than having met your teacher beforehand.

Rachel Cookson is assistant head and foundation stage co-ordinator at Oliver Goldsmith primary in Peckham

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