As a registered psychologist and experienced teacher, I am often asked: is my child ready for school – and how can I best help to prepare them?
Children come to school with many skills and you as a parent are your child’s first educator!
As your child embarks on their first step into formal education, research has shown that several factors determine how easily your child may transition to primary school. Your child’s temperament, personality and how they cope with unfamiliar situations outside of school are some of the factors that determine how well child may cope.
Research has shown the following skills are helpful for children to have a successful transition to school:
- Independence: They are able to look after their own belongings and personal needs.
- Social and emotional maturity: They can separate from their parent at the school drop off without distress, manage the different areas of the school effectively (ie the classroom, playground, toilets), and manage their relationships with other children and teachers.
- Age appropriate language and fine and gross motor skills: For instance, the ability to speak clearly and to hold a pencil correctly.
- Cognitive skills: Skills such as memory and attention, for example, the ability to follow instructions and listen during lessons.
Helping Your Child Develop Skills for School
As a parent you can support your child to develop skills to prepare them for school. Some skills you can work on include:
- Teaching your child to share and take turns.
- Encouraging your child to wait their turn to speak, and to listen to others when speaking.
- Giving your child instructions to follow. Start with one, and increase to two or three as your child improves. Ensure you have your child’s attention prior to giving instructions (ie eye contact).
- Listen to your child when they are talking, and encourage them to explain what they have said if you do not understand. Imagine if you were not their parent. Would you know what they were saying?
- Teach your child to look after their belongings at home.
- Make models out of junk, draw and colour in pictures together.
- Encourage your child to recognise and write their name. Comment on letters and numbers when out and about.
- Practise cutting skills eg draw shapes for your child to cut out.
- Play catch outside and other games that require hand/eye coordination.
- Read to your child daily. Ask questions about the story.
- Play memory games.
- Praise your child for effort, not just achievement.
Prior to school starting, it is a good idea to take your child to school so they can see the new environment. Talk positively about the new experience and how exciting it is to start school. Reassure your child if they are feeling anxious that it is okay and everyone feels that way when they start school.
School Readiness Assessment
If you are unsure if your child is ready for school and would like your child assessed for school readiness, or are keen for more information on how you can help them to prepare for school, please book in for a consultation with me. Before becoming a registered psychologist, I was a teacher and have extensive experience in teaching kindergarten as well as Prep, so am ideally positioned to be able to help you and your child prepare for the school transition.
Author: Angela Bromfield, B Sc (Hons Psych), B Ed (Primary), M Ed Psych.
Angela Bromfield is a registered psychologist working primarily with children, adolescents and young adults. In addition, Angela has extensive experience working in the school system, both as a teacher and a psychologist.
Angela Bromfield is currently on leave and may return end of 2019. Please call our office for other options on 1800 877 924.