Starting school is a big step in your child’s life and there are many things you can do to help prepare them for this transition.
The best indication as to whether or not your child is ready for school will come from your child’s childcare or pre-school educators. When assessing if your child should start school, or even assisting them in developing skills for the school environment, there are a few areas to look for.
- Fine motor skills, that is pencil control and using scissors to cut
- Social skills for listening and carrying out instructions along with attention span and being aware of how their behaviour impacts on others
- Emotional skills, that is the ability to take turns (how do they respond if another child is using something they want?), co-operative play skills and the ability to manage emotions (anger and frustration) with minimal adult assistance
This varies around Australia but in New South Wales children can start Kindergarten in the first term of the school year if turning five by July 31st that year.
- Children find it comforting to have a friend going to school with them. Try and foster this relationship prior to school starting.
- Label every piece of your child’s school uniform including their lunchbox and school bag. Unlike childcare or pre-school, at school everyone has the same uniform and often, the same school bag which can be confusing for your child at first.
- Many childcare centres provide meals so it can be beneficial for your child to practice opening a lunch box and unwrapping different packaged items. While a teacher will be available to assist at school, there are usually 20 plus children in a class and they may all require assistance.
- Expect your child to find school tiring in the first few weeks. Ensure they get plenty of sleep.
- Try not to plan after school activities until at least second or third term
- If your child is continually tearful, worried or showing signs of stress, discuss your concerns with their teacher
- Being positive with your child when they start school helps them to be more confident and comfortable with their new environment.