BACK TO SCHOOL: Is your child ready for school?

10 January 2018

By Janelle Dimmock, Begin Bright Hope Island

At this time of year, teachers are frequently asked by parents about how best to prepare their child to start school. Many parents are concerned about whether or not their child is ready to start in the new year or how they will cope. There are many factors that impact on a child’s readiness to transition to Prep and many ways to help prepare them to ensure they are successful.

School readiness refers to whether a child is ready to make an easy and successful transition to school. While many people think of the academic side of preparing a child for school (e.g writing their name, knowing letters and numbers) school readiness skills actually refer to a much broader range of skills that include self-care such as independent toileting and dressing, opening lunch boxes and packets, attention and concentration, physical skills, emotional regulation, language and speech development and play and social skills.

Students who begin school with the building blocks or solid foundation skills, advance faster and are more confident and successful throughout their primary years. While many children with delayed readiness may go on to succeed, the journey for them can be so much more challenging.

School readiness can be actively facilitated with a little forward planning to ensure that children regularly participate in activities that help to develop the appropriate skills to help them be ready to learn when they start school. 

Some ideas that may assist:

  • Attend orientation days and parent information evenings, meet the teachers.
  • Visit the new school with your child, talk about where to find the office, tuckshop, bathrooms, library and playgrounds. Many of these words and concepts are new so talk about what happens at each of these places.
  • During orientation visits, meet other parents and organise play dates during the school holidays.
  • Take your child with you when purchasing their new BIG school uniform. Let them wear it to show family and friends and even play dress ups.
  • Give them ownership of their belongings by encouraging them to the pick their new lunch box, drink bottle and school bag. They will remember and be more aware of what belongs to them if they chose the items themselves, practise using the lunchbox, bottle and bag to ensure your child can independently open and close them.
  • Read stories together on starting school. There are some great children’s books available.  Ask the school if they have photo books or videos that you are able to use to prepare your child for their first day.

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City


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