How to get your child school ready
Key topics: school readiness, academic skills, social skills, emotional maturity, attention, concentration, literacy, numeracy, Miss Jo, fear, anxiety, self-care
What is school readiness?
School readiness is the decision-making process of deciding if a child is ready for ‘big-school’ aka Primary School. It encompasses a broad range of skills at varying levels including social and emotional maturity, academia, physical skills, cognitive maturity and dare I say, common sense (I will get to this later). The decision can include parents, pre-school or kindergarten teachers and other stakeholders who may be involved in your child’s development such as speech therapists, psychologists and occupational therapists. Essentially, the goal is an easy, seamless transition into ‘big-school’ and setting our child up for success from the very beginning.
Social and emotional skills: getting along with others, manners play independently and with others, managing emotions, following directions, cope with stress, understand rules
Academia: reading, spelling, handwriting, number skills
Physical skills: gross and fine skills – pencil grip, turning pages, run, jump, toileting themselves, unwrapping lunches, packing and unpacking bags
Cognitive Maturity: basic thinking skills, able to wait turns, concentration span, attention
Common sense: Only you know your child, so listen to your head! My 4yrs and 9 month old was not ready for school in most of these areas. However, she was incredibly tall for her age (her dad was 6ft 4). I decided that I would start her in primary school because of her height as I knew holding her back for another year would make her socially ostracised. Eventually she did repeat a year (age 10) but only when her height would no longer be a major concern in comparison to her peers.
All these skills are significant in making the best decision for your child. Many are developmental mile-stones that cannot be rushed. All play a significant role in your child’s first years of success in education. With the extensive research based around future educational success and it’s direct correlation to school readiness, it is important to make a well-informed decision with all stakeholders. Download our school readiness checklist; this can help highlight areas to focus on in the lead up to school. (beginbrilliantly.com.au)
What is a school readiness program?
Many believe that a school readiness program is developing academic skills, however, a school readiness program is designed to immerse your child in activities that they will be exposed to in a primary school setting. These include, but not limited to, reading, handwriting, spelling, number skills, concentration development and working with others.
Educators will also consider social and emotional maturity when designing work stations and activities. Activities in a school readiness program should include both play based and structured learning.
What are the academic benefits of a school readiness program?
We know ourselves, that when we practise a skill set, we get better at it, we feel more comfortable and confident and are prepared to take risks to learn further. Conversely, when we are put into an unfamiliar situation it causes unnecessary stress, fear and anxiety.
Once children practise the skills they need for school, their confidence and excitement in extending their knowledge can occur. Children become more advanced and therefore new learning is easier to consolidate and extend, achieving higher results.
When a child is ‘school ready’ this allows the teacher to further develop the child’s skills in all areas. Essentially allowing children to flourish, thrive and accept new challenges.
What are the risks of not being school ready?
There is absolutely no rush to move your child into primary school. Australia has one of the youngest school-starting ages, with children at school for ten years or more. Studies have shown that children who are not school ready, risk their future academic, social and occupational success. Children often lose confidence and shut down when a task is difficult, rather than ‘having a go’ causing a ripple effect into other subject or skill areas.
Poor academic results, lack of social skills and friendship groups and consistently having to catch-up are all a result of not being school ready. Studies also show that stress and anxiety caused by not being school ready, unfortunately transcends all through their education journey. Therefore, careful consideration of all aspects of school readiness should be visited before making a final decision.
What is the best school readiness program?
Begin Brilliantly is a cleverly designed school readiness program with your child in mind. Begin Brilliantly is offered face to face and on-line, if you can not make it into a centre near you.
Children are immersed in engaging activities designed to develop social, emotional, cognitive skills to master academic and physical skills.
Begin Brilliantly develops:
- Following instruction
- Working independently and in groups
- Extending concentration and attention to detail
- Academic skills including reading, handwriting, spelling, number skills