Readiness for school is an important factor to consider before starting school. International research emphasises that certain areas of development and maturity are essential for children so that once at school, they are able to maximise the opportunities provided.
The key areas of social and emotional maturity related to school readiness can be summarised by reviewing these questions. At preschool does your child:
Separate easily from parents at drop off.
Independently make a decision of where they are going to work/play.
Self-initiate, engage and sustain engagement (6-8 minutes), have the skills to solve basic problems and ask for help from the teacher if needed.
Work and play well with/around other children.
Have basic independence skills (eg. able to put shoes and socks on, toileting independently).
Sit with the group and remain focused, ask questions and answer questions from the teacher.
Self regulate their emotional response when they need to do something they don’t want to (eg. don’t tantrum when it is time to pack up).
Just like every other change and transition in your child's life, there are ways that you can make it easier for the whole family to start at school.
It is important to recognise and normalise your feelings and your child’s in the lead up to starting school. It’s okay for children (and parents) to feel nervous, unsure or confused. Make sure to focus on the positives of school like learning new things and making friends.
Emotionally intelligent children can self-regulate and more easily build other important skills. You can support your child’s emotional development by helping them to recognise the emotions they’re feeling and deal with them in appropriate ways.
Language, communication, and attention are vital to success, both in school and elsewhere. Help your child to improve these skills by practising multi-step directions (eg. Put your books away, get your hat and line up at the door), focusing on a task for gradually longer periods, and encouraging them to ask and answer questions.
Letting your child do things for themselves and teaching them responsibility will give them confidence in their abilities and reduce anxieties they may be feeling about starting school. To help develop their independence you can practise school-related tasks at home such as toileting, unpacking their lunch, putting on shoes and recognising their name on labels.
Read with your child regularly. Books are a fun and engaging way to develop vocabulary, knowledge, creativity, concentration, empathy and imagination. Try to include a wide variety of subjects, genres and media to help broaden their interests.
Numeracy skills can be developed by counting, sorting items into larger or smaller, measuring ingredients, or dividing food into equal shares. Encourage your child to notice the numbers around them when visiting the shops or playground.
Consistency builds confidence and children feel secure when they know what to expect. Routines can take weeks to settle into, so consider starting a school morning routine at least two weeks before school starts.
Start your new morning routine by getting up, having breakfast and brushing teeth at the same time each morning. This will also help you to get an idea of how long it will take them to get ready for school each morning. You can also use this time in the morning to start showing your child how to dress themselves and pack their bag.
An after school routine is also important. Show your child how to unpack their bag after school and consider introducing some simple variation of homework, like reading, spelling or drawing, to help your child get into the mindset of doing homework.
At Mernda Hills, we're more than just a school; we're a vibrant and nurturing community that's passionate about our students' growth and success.
Hear from our Principal, Kristin Hankins, as well as our dedicated teachers, heads of staff, and some of our amazing students, who explain what makes Mernda Hills so special.