Will they be ready for school?
Readiness: “The state of being fully prepared for something.”
Starting school for a little one and their family is a momentous occasion that brings with it many emotions for everyone involved! There’s a mix of excitement, nervousness, anxiety, joy, pride and sometimes dread. Enter any modern day preschool room and the term school readiness is mention almost daily! Teachers can be unsure whether their program is covering enough; parents aren’t sure how to prepare their child and the play based curriculum can sometimes be misunderstood! Below are 10 ways to support your child to be school ready and there’s no abc, 123 to be seen!
- Confidence: It’s not accidental that I started with confidence. As a teacher, this is my first and foremost focal point in sending children to school. To ensure they are confident inside but especially outside of the classroom. I want them to be confident in themselves, their ability and the situations they may face.
- Resilience: At some point in their lives, children will face disappointment and it breaks a parent’s heart! We must help our little ones become resilient, that is to recover quickly from difficult stations and basically not have one small moment ruin their whole day.
- Self-regulation: This one is tricky to navigate but so very important. We need to help our children to regulate their thoughts, emotions and behaviours to have success in the classroom.
- Social Skills: Social skills are so important. It’s all very well to think that a child is ready for school because they can count to 100 and they know all the letters of the alphabet. What happens to these little one’s outside of the classroom? Social skills also go hand in hand with confidence. Support your child to ask another child if they can play, help guide your child to introduce themselves to other children, discuss the importance of interacting with a variety of children and most of all teach them to be accepting of others and their differences.
Self Help skills: Make these achievable based on your child’s ability. When children get to school, they are suddenly expected to look after a myriad of items. Perhaps when you go to the park, they could take a bag with their lunch and 1 item of clothing in it. Help your child to close and open the bag, using the zipper. You could also try giving them a library bag for the local library and they need to take care of this one item. We also need to foster and help children to put on and take of items of clothing. One of the most important self-help skills that you can teach your child before they start school is to wipe themselves after a bowel motion.
Concentration: Teach it through playing games or you will drive yourself and your child batty! There is nothing worse than being nagged to concentrate, for the adult or the child! Play a board game that requires them to focus on the game, use puzzles, plat twister, play musical chairs but please do it through play!
Creative Arts: Many, many children express themselves and process their world through the creative arts. Whether it is dancing, drawing, painting, making, singing, imagining or dressing up. Embrace it, allow them to be a part of their world, listen to their thoughts, allow them to make decisions with you and sometimes just be silly!
- Literacy: I’ve left these two until last, because they are the major two that usually take up all the focus! Read to children, books are a wonderful resource that opens many conversations about language, text types, words, letters, sentences, verbs, punctuation, authors, and illustrators! Talk about the construction of a book, the plot, the characters, what they think will happen, point out letters in their name, cover all the words and ask the child to tell you what’s happening in the story- they will tell you straight away they can’t read but it allows them to develop an understanding that pictures in stories can give clues! Let them practise writing if and when they are ready- because when they are you can be sure they want to write EVERYTHING!
- Numeracy: Use real world resources, maths is all around you! Talk about time, morning, midday, afternoon, night time, share money through play and real life, talk about mathematical language over, under, on top, inside, outside, next to, straight, curvy, round, look at collections of items- sorting, collecting, use a calendar for number, yesterday, today, tomorrow. Use the world around you. Ensure your child has a good understanding of 1:1 correspondence; that is that 1 block is 1, 2 blocks is 2, rather than 1 block is 1,2,3,4,5. We see some children who can count confidently to 100 yet have 1:1 correspondence of fewer than 5.
Most of all, set children up for success by giving them achievable tasks. It is unrealistic to expect a child to follow a list of 7 instructions but 2 and they should be fine. Allow them to develop a love of learning about the world and please, please, forget the worksheets!!
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