The decision about when your child should start school can be a hard one to make.
Many people think that being school ready means that your child must know how to read and write but these skills are often secondary to many others.
The most important skills needed to thrive in primary school
- Be able to recognize their name
- Be able to open their lunchbox and packets and knowing how much food to eat during each break
- Be able to self-regulate and show resilience
- Be able to dress and undress and know what clothes to wear according to their body temperature.
- Have age appropriate social skills
- Be able to hold a pencil with a tripod grip and be able to use scissors with ease.
- Show responsibility for their belongings such as making sure that their lunchbox goes back into their bag along with any clothes taken off during the day including their hat.
- Be Independent at toileting
Skills that are a bonus but not necessary
- Being able to write their own name
- Knowing all colours and shapes
- Knowing the alphabet and being familiar with letters and words
- Knowing how to count forwards and backwards
How you can help your child
- Get your child to practice opening their lunchbox and packets
- Read to your child every day and point out letters that are in their name in their daily life, (street signs, menus, shop signs etc)
- Teach your child techniques that are suited to them on how to self-regulate their emotions, (deep breathing, counting, talking about emotions etc)
- Encourage them to dress and guide them with acknowledging that if they are hot to take their jacket off or if they are cold to put it on etc.
- When going out, give your child a backpack and get them to carry their own drink bottle, food and spare clothes. This will help them to take responsibility for their own belongings
- Encourage your child to wipe themselves after passing bowel movements so that they don’t get stuck at school with no idea how to do it themselves.
- Give your child many opportunities for them to develop fine motor skills through play such as playdough, clay, manipulative and construction equipment (LEGO, Mobilo, bead threading etc.) Always offer scissors, paper, sticky tape, staplers, hole punchers, writing/drawing implements – textas, pencils, oil pastels, crayons, chalk, charcoal, whiteboards and markers, rulers, erasers and sharpeners.
- Sing lots of fingerplays/songs so that your child will have practice at isolating fingers and build finger and hand strength. Simple songs such as ‘One two three four five, once I caught a fish alive’, Five little monkeys swinging in a tree’ are great and help with numeracy as well.
Read at least one book together every day. This is not only great for developing a love of literature but will prepare your child for doing readers each night.
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