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School readiness skills are important for all four and five year olds. Some children take time to learn routines. When your child knows what to expect, he or she will have confidence, feel more independent and the transition into a new environment will be easier for everyone.
What to do Over the Holidays
Getting ready for school is great to do over the holidays and especially if the coming year includes your child’s first day of primary school.
It’s natural for children and parents to feel a little anxious about such a big change, but the best thing to do is to talk openly and honestly with your child as the first day of Kindergarten gets closer.
Helpful school readiness tips
- Independence save time and builds confidence
Independence is an important skill to start practising now, and believe us when we tell you that your mornings will be busier when your child starts school! Begin with simple things like getting dressed and undressed so that next year, managing their school uniform is easy for your child and makes mornings less stressful for all.
- Bathroom routines are vital
Being able to use the bathroom is an important school readiness skill. In the coming weeks and months, help your child to practise using toilet facilities and washing hands in public places. Try to keep experiences fun and engaging as you teach the logistics of things such as urinals, getting clothing off an time and that all important flush!
- Practice classroom conventions now
Seek out community classes to assist with your child’s transition to school. Are there any holiday specials planned for children entering primary school the coming year in your local area? Many local libraries host story time days or weekly story times throughout the holidays to introduce books and help begin building literacy skills.
- Make the most of Orientation Days
Orientation days are a valuable introduction to school and you and your child will get a good idea of what school will be like when you meet teachers and other families on these occasions. Typically, schools provide a list of required materials and important dates for parents to mark on their calendars at Orientation Day. Even though it can be tough to get to Orientation Days if you are a working parent, they do offer invaluable opportunities to meet the teacher and for your child to paint a picture of what their school will be like. Try to get there if you can.
- Play games that build skills
As ‘big school’ hovers on the horizon, try to play games that require your child to raise their hand! This teaches skills to help prepare your child for school: to display patience, to wait their turn, to participate, and to deal with the fact that, sometimes, they may not get a turn this time round.
- Get familiar with the route to school
Encourage safety by teaching the school travel route to your child. If you live close by and will be able to walk to school, practise walking together on sunny days. Try to make it a game! While strolling point out funny looking objects or landmarks, (something noticeable), and use them as a point of reference when going over the route with your child. You can apply this same method to driving routes or even transportation by bus. This will help if ever your child feels lost or uncertain on the way to or from school.
- Label everything!
One tip that every primary school parent and teacher will give you is to label personal belongings! There are many commercially prepared stickers that work well, however an inexpensive option is to simply purchase a permanent marker and a laundry pen that will not wash off. You can also make this a fun art project by bringing out some colourful paper and crayons and adding personal touches with stickers to your child’s lunch box and school bag!
- Routines should start now
Children do not cope well with sudden change, so try to establish daily and nightly routines before school begins. If you know what time class starts, structure holiday routines to slightly mirror the coming year. Forge good habits of going to bed and getting up early! No one enjoys and early morning rush, so make sure that bags, shoes and other school paraphernalia is ready the night before so that your child gets used to being organised.
- The night before
On the night before the big day help your child to prepare! Parents, remember to confirm any transportation or child care arrangements, and make sure that your child knows what these plans are. Review the walking or bus route and remind your child again at what time and where you will collect them.Going to school is a big step for little kids, and it’s a moment that parents look forward to as well.
© 2017 Kids First Children’s Services
Need help so that your child can make a confident start to school?
Kids First’s experienced teachers and health professionals have helped hundreds of children make a happy and confident start to school.
Our 5 week Ready Set School program is a popular one that will give your child the opportunity to be supported by speech pathologists, occupational therapists and teachers as they prepare to go to school.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s school readiness, contact us on 9938 5419 to discuss your child’s needs.