As a continuation of our discussion on school readiness, so far we have discussed the building blocks of school readiness and why they are important. We have looked at how to determine if your child is lacking in school readiness. Today we are looking at the following:
How to improve school readiness skills
In the twelve to six months’ lead-up to school, there are various activities with which to engage your child that will serve to support the development of school readiness. These activities include:
- Parenting expectations: Increase expectations of the child around self-care tasks such as dressing, toileting, eating and getting ready to leave the house. Provide only verbal rather than physical help to complete the tasks, where possible.
- Social skills: Encourage the child to develop relationships with other (unfamiliar) children of a similar age, and arrange suitable ‘play dates’ for social interaction practice where the adults actively facilitate play.
- Books: Expose the child to books to prepare them for literacy so they learn to sit through the entirety of a book.
- Early preparation: Start preparing your child for school by talking about expectations at school, appropriate behaviour and regularly engaging in ‘sit-down’ activities.
- Collaboration: Work with your child’s pre-school teacher to identify any signs of deficit or slow development so that these areas can be targeted before your child starts school.
- Visual strategies: Use visual timetables to help your child understand the routine of their day, both at home and at pre-school. When your child attends a transition-to-school program, get an idea of the daily school routine and attempt to integrate lunch break times into your child’s day.
- Outings: Prepare your child for school excursions by going to places such as the library or a shopping centre and help them to understand appropriate behaviour in these environments. Visits to the school playground, toilet block and classroom during the transition program will be helpful to familiarise your child with the new setting.
- Fine motor skill development: This is an area that will be a large part of the activities undertaken at school, so developing these skills will enable your child to participate in activities much more easily and willingly. This really means practising cutting, colouring, drawing and writing their name.
What to do if you notice difficulties with school readiness in your child
Sometimes it is important to seek advice or therapeutic intervention to support a child with school readiness difficulties. My reasoning behind this is as follows:
- You only get one chance at making an easy and successful school entry – throw everything you have at it in order to create a positive ‘love of school’ attitude in the early days that will see you through any tricky times that follow. If in doubt, act early to preserve your child’s self-esteem.
- Complete both routine tasks as well as attempting unfamiliar tasks that are likely to feel very challenging and that could dent self-esteem and restrict participation. Practising these in the comfort of home first will help develop comfort when challenged in the school setting.
- Identify the specific areas of skill breakdown so that these can be targeted, ideally beforeschool entry, to remove any hurdles to an easy and successful school entry.
- School transition may be difficult if a child is reluctant to follow instructions (e.g. classroom instructions, academic task requirements) so, again, practising in advance can help smooth the transition.
- Social isolation can impact not only a child but also the parents if the child does not make new friends at school. So, social skill development is paramount as, at the very least, most parents want their child to be happy, which is largely influenced by their social connections at school.
My next article will be around the importance of both fine and gross motor skills.
SMGS will also be hosting two events in Term 4 that are centred around school readiness. You are invited to:
Wednesday 23rdOctober – Kindergarten Information Evening.
Starting or considering kindergarten in 2020? Then come along to our Kindergarten Information Evening on Wednesday, 23rd October at 6:00 pm.
This evening is open to all enrolled SMGS Kindergarten 2020 families, families considering SMGS Kindergarten in 2020 and all those interested in our Kindergarten program within the community.
The evening will include a discussion on school readiness, an overview of Let’s Explore and what to expect in your child’s first term at school.
We hope to see you there!
Friday 25thOctober – Let’s Explore – SMGS’ Kindergarten orientation program.
Let’s Explore Kindergarten transition to school program consists of one session held over five Fridays. This allows your child to experience different components of a regular school day and explore all areas of school readiness in a hands-on interactive way. Children will engage in learning activities, gross and fine motor practise and social interaction with peers. The focus will be on introducing children to our daily routine in order to familiarise them with our environment and the expectations of school life. We would like children to complete our program with increased confidence and be excited to start their school journey.
Please register for further details, mark these dates on your calendar and register your attendance.