Starting school for the first time is a big event in your child’s life as well as your own. When it’s time for your son or daughter to start school, it can be an unnerving experience. However, with more than 30 years primary education experience and countless tried and tested learning activities Anni Sandwell, Head of School at The King’s School, Tudor House is here to share some great advice.
‘School readiness’ is a measure of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that enable children to participate and flourish at school. ‘School readiness’ is the development of the whole child including social and emotional skills, communication skills, physical skills and cognitive skills. Children who are developmentally ready to learn tend to do better in school.
Below are a number of checklists to guide your decision on whether your child is to ready for school.
Before starting school, your child should be able to get along with other children, demonstrate basic manners, assert themselves, and play independently as well as with other children to prepare them for what occurs on a daily basis at school.
When a child is able to manage their emotions, focus on tasks and follow direction and instructions as well as cope with an unfamiliar setting, they are emotionally ready for school.
Having the basic skills to manage their own needs without adult supervision, such as going to the toilet, dressing themselves, and managing their belongings is important for a child’s independence and preparing them for school.
Communicating clearly with teachers and other students is imperative for children, but also to be able to listen to others. While at home, children should be taught how to begin and understand some letters and sounds to make connections between spoken sounds and written sounds. While it is not expected they know all the ABCs and 123s, it is a good time to start practising.
Physical Health and Coordination
Children should have basic fine motor skills such as being about to grip a pencil and turn pages in a book. Teaching your child how to complete these basic skills will assist them in the classroom. Children engage in physical activity on school grounds so having the coordination to run, jump, climb and play with a ball are beneficial skills to have at an early age.
During the early years of a child’s life this is a time of rapid growth for development measures and having the ability of understanding numbers, asking questions and the importance of waiting and taking turns will guide a child through their new experiences at school.
For parents wondering what they can do to help prepare their little one for school, here are some easy tips and tricks.
Social Skills, Emotional Maturity and Independence
Try to arrange play dates without a parent present such as a sleepover with family and friends or with other children starting at the same school. This will allow your child to build their social skills and confidence. They may even have a friend before starting school.
Toilet learning is an important milestone for your children and teaching independent toilet training to minimise accidents at school with make your child’s schooling experience less traumatic.
Assigning jobs around the house helps kids feel capable and part of the team. Learning these lessons at home can help kids develop strong skills to use at school.
Children learn and imitate behaviours by watching and listening to others, so it’s important to model the behaviour you want your child to exhibit.
During your child’s early years, encourage conversation by asking questions to help your child learn more words and start to understand how sounds and language work. This will allow them to communicate with their peers.
Screen time can be a part of a healthy lifestyle for children. Developing routines is a great way to limit screen time and encourage more physical activities and family time.
Singing songs, making music and learning nursery rhymes are a fun way to encourage learning in your children. Music give kids the chance to develop the language and learning foundations needed for school.
Reading stories stimulates your child’s imagination and helps them learn and understand words. They not only hear the words but see them through pictures which can help guide their learning.
Physical Health and Coordination
Starting school is a big step for little kids and being able to participate in school activities including sports and games, children should have basic physical coordination skills developed from riding a bike, climbing, skipping and swimming.
Learning how to draw, paint and cut while at home is not only a fun task to develop your child’s creativity, it also prepares them for similar activities available in the school’s curriculum.
Getting dressed is an important skill for children to learn but it can be hard. Children need to be confident in being able to dress themselves. This includes putting on their own socks and shoes, as well as looking after their belongings.
Simply teaching children to tell time doesn’t give them understanding of the value of time. Start introducing time at a young age by showing them how time works using o’clock times on an analogue clock and calendars.
Going for walks in your local area, looking at signs and shapes, counting and noticing numbers in the environment is a great form of exercise and improves concentration. Walking can encourage road sense and is a creative approach to learning.
Finding a great Pre-Kindergarten program is one way many parents find the support they need to promote their child’s school readiness. At The King’s School, Tudor House we offer a three day a week program which provides families with a wonderful foundation for primary learning. Contact us now about enrolling in Pre-Kindergarten in 2021.