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Give Your Child a Great Head Start to School by Being a Proactive Parent!

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Give Your Child a Great Head Start to School by Being a Proactive Parent

Pro-active vs Re-active Parenting 

Key ideas – cognitive skills, early education, proactive approach, reactive parent, Jo-Anne Lee, learning experience, anxiety, stress, poor grades, play based education, school transition

So you feel your child is ready for school? They have attended kindergarten, a pre-school program or child care facility and you believe that the learning environment has prepared them for school life. 

As your children transition into school life, you hold all their hopes and dreams of success in your heart. The excitement on their face and yours, the wonder in their minds and the energy to jump right in! But what happens when the school transition is not successful? What are the early warning signs? What does this look like? How long before you know? More importantly, what can you do to avoid poor grades?


What many parents don’t know is that the gap between play-based education in early childhood settings and structured learning in a school environment is extensive. Whilst the National Quality Framework standards (NQF-Link) highlight the importance of transition between two educational settings, it is the style of teaching and learning that is poles apart. Play based learning is essential and integral to the cognitive, social and emotional growth of a child and can not be underestimated nor disregarded.

However, having worked in many early childhood settings, play based education has little place in the classroom structure, with only a handful of schools dedicating significant sessions to support this important part of childhood development. What this means for your child, is that they arrive in a classroom with expectations of the play based environment they have come from and learn quickly that this is almost non-existent.

Instead they have activities such as line up, sit down, no touching, listening, enduring concentration and metacognitive (thinking about our thinking) discussions. They have a timetable, a day-board, a sequence to follow, timed movements between sessions and in an over crowded curriculum the process of learn, move on, learning, moving on and learn more and move on is a consistent treadmill that your child falls off and can’t seem to get back on. Fast forward into their second year of school and that treadmill is still running.

Your child exhibits crying, anxiety, stress or lack of confidence around school activities. Your teacher suggests that your child is not ‘at level.’ You hire a tutor. You are now a reactive parent. 


What does pro-active look like? Learning experiences are exponentially important to children prior to going into school. Let’s take a proactive approach and have your child actively learning in an environment they will ultimately be fused into. You want to seek out a pre-school program, child care centre or kindergarten that has qualified professionals.

They should be able to demonstrate to you a pre-school program that reflects the school type literacies that your child will be exposed to in order to develop cognitive skills, endurance of concentration and school discourse.

Download our checklist to identify what areas you may need to focus on before going to school. It may be that you are extremely happy with your current pre-school arrangements, but are unaware of some of the areas that need attention. Our checklist can highlight areas to focus on. 


When a child has transitioned successfully into school, the teacher will be able to focus more on consolidating knowledge, developing cognitive and metacognitive skills and extending your child.

The child will feel confident, relaxed and excited about learning and see themselves as a successful learner, with a thirst for more challenges.

The parent (you) can take solace in knowing that you have given your child the best head start into school life and beyond, setting them up or a life-long love of learning and the power to be whatever they want to be!