When we talk about school readiness, we are not just referring to a child’s age, and their early literacy and numeracy skills. When deciding whether your child is ready for the demands of formal schooling, it is important to consider all aspects of their development, including the following:
- Maturity: Does your child have sufficient listening and speaking skills and are they able to follow instructions? Do they cope well with change?
- Social confidence and ability to relate to others: Is your child comfortable making new friends, and can they share, play and interact with others constructively?
- Independence: Is your child independent when it comes to toileting, feeding themselves and dressing themselves . Are they able to pack their own bag?
- Motor skills: Does your child have sufficient fine and gross motor coordination – are they able to open lunch boxes and food wrappers? Can they use a pencil and a pair of scissors?
You can help to make the experience of starting school an exciting, positive and rewarding one, by implementing these suggestions:
- Read to your child every day. Encourage them to point to words and to talk about the sounds they hear.
- Talk to your child about going to school – tell them what they can expect and what will be expected of them.
- Encourage independence and responsibility at home, when it comes to: toileting, dressing and taking responsibility for their own things.
- Keep an open dialogue with your child’s teacher. Discuss any areas of concern you may have eg speech, hearing, motor, emotional.
- Make the most of the school’s transition program. Ask lots of questions and encourage your child to feel a sense of belonging to the school community.
- Talk to other parents and share ideas, experiences and feelings.