Starting school is a big step for little kids and can frustrating for parents. One major concern of most parents is if their child is ready for school (especially for those who have people to watch over their children while they go to work or their place of business).
There’s a term coined for it, “school readiness”.
School readiness does not mean to be able to read, write, and do basic maths before starting school, instead it is the development of the whole child: social and emotional skills, communication skills and cognitive skills. It will be difficult for a child to thrive well at school if they haven’t developed the skills to manage things like getting along with other children, following instructions and taking care of themselves to a reasonable extent.
In this article we will break down what school readiness means and how you can help your child prepare for a new life in school.
There are discussions arising from when a child should start school, and the idea that because of their birth date some children are ready for school and other are not is taking center stage. A lot of people agree that just as children develop mentally, physically and reach several development milestones at different times (not minding their age), they also develop the psychological and social aptitudes necessary for school at varying ages.
Also, many parents are now insisting that schools need to be ready for children, but of course we know the reality we’re living in is such that the match between your child’s development and the school’s resources and adaptability may not exist.
For preschoolers who go into a school for the first time, some schools conduct their own tests to evaluate your child’s abilities and eventually either accept your child or advise you to wait for the next school year. The problem with the readiness tests is that as much as these tests concentrate on academic skills and other aspects of development, some children who do poorly on them still go on to fare well in school.
Often, your own parental intuition about your child’s capabilities is an accurate measure of how well he is prepared to enter school, particularly if you have an older child with whom you have had experience.
How to check if your child is ready for preschool
As much as there are tips and pointers to look out for, there is no single factor that determines whether your child is ready to start school. It is best for parents to be sincere with themselves, especially since they know their children best. Here are a few guidelines
- Consider your child’s abilities and gather accurate information about your child’s development, especially communication skills like language development and the ability to listen
- Consider your child’s social skills and the ability to get along with other children and adults
- Consider your child’s physical skills from running and playing
- Can your child pull up his or her own underwear and trousers?
- Does your child know the front and back of trousers?
- Can your child put on his or her own socks and shoes?
- Can your child open his lunch box?
- Can your child open his water bottle and drink without spilling all over himself?
- Can your child urinate into the toilet without spilling all over the floor?
- Can your child sit on the toilet by himself?
- Can your child wipe his bottom and know when his bottom is clean?
How to help your child prepare for school
- Encourage your child to be independent with dressing. Teach your child where the front and back of a clothing is. Encourage your child to dress himself rather than you completing the task.
- Play games with your child and encourage your child to participate in games such as jigsaw puzzles, drawing on paper, holding a crayon. this will help your child to develop the skills needed for handwriting.
Help your child develop awareness of right / left. Practice putting on shoes on correct feet.
Encourage independence with toileting. Help your child become aware of how to wipe his bottom and know when his bottom is clean.
Research shows that children who start school when developmentally ready to learn tend to do better in school – and it sets them up for further success later in life.