It’s that nerve racking time for many parents. The end of the holidays and start of a brand new year. Such a bittersweet time isn’t it?

Getting children ‘ready’ for their first day of formal schooling is a topic that has been coming up in conversation lately. It seems that for a fair few parents there is a focus on the ‘academic’ side of getting their children ‘ready’ however there are many other skills that will make transition into Kindy much smoother for your child rather than focusing on ABCs and 123s.

Allowing your child to develop some independence will make a huge difference when entering into the world of Kindergarten. Being able to put on their own hat, put on and remove a jumper, open the snaps on their lunch boxes and tie their own shoe will have a great impact on their day.

Imagine a class of students each needing their shoes tied and how much time educators would spend in a day away from the lesson if they were tying laces. Allow your child to practise threading and tying their shoes with our Lacing Shoe toy. The bright laces are the perfect contrast against the ‘shoe’ base. This is quite a complex skill and does take time to perfect. If your child hasn’t mastered shoelace tying come beginning of term, perhaps consider a different style of fastener.

Can your child blow their nose or tend to their own personal care in the bathroom and recognise if they are feeling hot or cold and then know how to remedy the situation? Using the characters from any of our play sets (Pirate Ship, Flower House, Dinosaur or Farm House) can be a great way to provide your child with a sequence of steps to follow when in these situations. During play you can discuss different scenarios and different paths your child could take. Planting the seed through play is very handy to prepare for these type of situations.

Can your child recognise their own belongings? A character swing tag fastened to the handle of their school bag may help them identify their own bag. Be mindful of labelling your children’s bags in public view as a less than desirable person may also read the child’s name and use this to lure your child into a false sense of security.

Being able to follow verbal instructions is a skill that is so important when entering into school years. Ask your child to collect their book and then pop it on the shelf or collect their water and have a drink. Being able to perform two step tasks is a useful skill!

Reading to your child will arm them with so many skills which are necessary upon entering into a formal learning environment. It allows them to build their vocabulary to assist them with communication, retaining information and will encourage them to ask questions. Point to the words as you are reading so your child can understand that we read/write left to right. Ask your child what they think is going to happen next or how they think the character may be feeling.

In Kindergarten your child isn’t always going to be able to do what they want, when they want. Teaching them to follow instruction, identify and regulate their emotions will help this transition. If their little friend doesn’t wish to play ball with them today, ingrain some alternative activities your child could do instead. Perhaps play another game or play with another child. Try to build a solid understanding of turn taking, sharing and the importance of caring for the needs of others as much as their own. These social skills will make time in the classroom and playground much more enjoyable.

The last skill set that we are going to bring to light are Fine Motor Skills. Holding a paint brush, cutting out and writing all require the use of those small muscle groups in the hands and fingers. Fine motor skills can definitely be worked on both through play with a large selection of our toys (check out our Fine Motor Skills Packs!) and with our Letter Basics range.

Roll out playdough worms and mould them on our Alphabet Playdough Mat. Then turn them into serpent letters by pinching plates along their backs! Practise penmanship with our Kindy Pre-Writing Guides. This is a fun way of encouraging your child to develop control over their movements and to stay on the lines which can easily transition to forming letters and numbers later on down the track.

Your child will be spending their days learning about the alphabet and maths giving them a solid foundation to be able to learn in this environment.

A love for learning is the best way to get them ready for this next chapter – Kindy is going to be so much fun!

All the best!

– Dani Davidson, Little Wooden Toybox Toy Representative

You might also like to read:

Supporting your child’s transition to school

Eight vital skills children develop in early learning and care settings

How to Strengthen your Child’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ)