How you can help prepare your child for school
We’ve written recently
about the importance of a strong kindergarten or preschool year to help children become ‘school-ready’.
It takes a well-rounded curriculum
and highly skilled teachers
, as well as plenty of love and attention to really get those brain cells firing
But a child’s readiness for school isn’t just the job of teachers, and there are several things you can do at home to support your child as they progress towards school.
Support their developing social-emotional skills
A child’s social-emotional skills are the building blocks for the rest of their developmental pyramid. That’s the view of Tom Brien, teacher at Goodstart Mona Vale
“It’s my firm belief that if a child is emotionally intelligent and can self-regulate they will more easily pick up the other skills they need.
“A lot of my coaching with parents is about helping their child to recognise the emotions they’re feeling, negotiate with peers and self-regulate in socially acceptable ways.
“These are really valuable skills for young children to have.”
Children learn naturally
Encourage exploration and play
through play, and encouraging your child to explore the world around them will open the door to a wealth of opportunities to inquire and learn.
You can encourage this type of play at home by:
- Providing opportunities for your child to play outdoors and in natural environments
- Having things like dress up clothes and art materials readily available
- Asking open-ended questions about what your child is doing or what they’ve observed
- Introducing new words or perspectives that relate to their play
We have some excellent tips on our blog about supporting play in babies
and three to five year olds
Build on their early literacy and numeracy skills
Early childhood provides fertile ground for developing literacy and numeracy skills, and there are many simple ways you can support your child’s budding abilities at home.
Literacy is about much more than simply reading and writing, and one of the simplest ways to help grow this essential skill set
is by reading books to your child.
Books provide a fun and engaging entry point for developing vocabulary, knowledge, creativity, concentration, empathy and imagination.
Likewise, numeracy skills can be developed at home by encouraging things like counting, sorting items into larger or smaller, measuring ingredients during cooking, dividing food into equal shares or setting the table with the right number of utensils and plates.
Your imagination is the only limit!
Establish familiarity with the concept of school
Children feel secure when they know what to expect, so use the year before school to gently introduce the concept of school and build familiarity with the environment, behaviours and routines they’ll encounter.
Some simple tips include:
- Ask your child what they think about going to school and encourage their questions
- Talk about how they’ll get to and from school
- Let them dress up in their school uniform
- Read books about starting school
- Arrange some playdates with other children who’ll be attending the same school
- Practice the morning routine of getting ready and packing lunch
Doing this at home will reinforce what your child’s preschool or kindergarten teacher is doing, and can really help children make a successful transition to school.