School readiness is quite a broad term and people’s interpretations of what a school readiness ‘program’ consists of will vary.
If your child is attending a nursery or pre-school, you can rest assured they are participating in activities on a daily basis that will prepare them for the school environment. If they aren’t currently attending a prior to school setting or you are wanting to further support your child at home, you are probably already involved in everyday activities that will help prepare them for school – perhaps without realising it!
School readiness activities and experiences aim to enable children to have a smooth and successful transition to school.
There is a lot more involved to school readiness than intellectual ability; independence, emotional development and social skills are equally important.
Education Boutique’s Top 5 Tips for school readiness include:
Children should be able to recognise their name on labels and name tags and produce markings on paper that is legible/recognisable as their name. It doesn’t matter at this stage if letter formation is accurate, as this will be taught in school. Name writing (or any drawing/writing) doesn’t have to mean pencil to paper at this age. ‘Big writing’ with fingers or sticks in sand or paint etc, is also a fun and meaningful experience that helps to strengthen fine motor skills.
- Fine Motor Skills
Adults should encourage and model a correct pencil grip whenever possible but don’t let this be the sole focus of a writing experience, children’s fine motor skills will develop and strengthen at different rates. As well as the aforementioned suggested activity in Tip 1, some other ideas to assist with fine motor development include: treading beads onto string; playdough – rolling, squeezing, cutting, pulling; practicing opening lunch boxes, school bags and drink bottles etc.
Not only is knowing how to open and close lunchboxes, drink bottles and school bags a fine motor skill, it is also important so a child has a certain level of independence when they start school. Children should also be able to dress and undress themselves, toilet independently (unless there is an additional need of course) and take responsibility of their belongings (placing items back in kit bags etc).
- Emotional and Social Skills
Children starting school should be able to: participate in cooperative play with their peers; turn take and share; initiate and maintain conversations; listen to others and show empathy and follow known rules.
- Cognitive activities
We always encourage name writing, counting up to 20 and counting backwards from 10 (think blast off games!) to be a practiced skill by the time children begin Reception. Children will probably begin to recognise symbols and signs in the world around them (e.g. the Lego sign, the YouTube symbol, the big yellow M for McDonald’s, numbers on speed signs, letters and numbers on license plates etc.), this can be easily encouraged by adults pointing out these symbols within the home and when out and about in the wider community. Alphabet games and singing the alphabet song is useful too. Puzzles, painting, drawing, card games (e.g. snap and memory games), reading stories and singing songs are all other activities we recommend.
Please contact Education Boutique if we can be of any further assistance to your child’s school readiness experience.
Brooke McClure, Lead Resource Teacher at Education Boutique