What feels like 2 minutes later, they’re starting to talk. Then you start seeing hints of your baby growing up and becoming a little person you can have conversations with (on a good day!). Finally, it’s time to start thinking about sending them to school, but are they ready? Is your child starting school in the next year? It might be time to start thinking about School Readiness classes.
As teachers working with young children on a day to day basis, parents frequently ask us, ‘Is my child ready to start school?’. It’s something that can cause differing opinions amongst parents.
Sending our children to school for the first time can be a daunting experience, will they enjoy it? Will they be overwhelmed? Are they ready?
There are many ways we can ensure our kids are as ready as they can be for school, and the sooner you start preparing them, the better.
School Readiness has many different variables, have a look at our simple 5 point checklist to indicate if your child is ready for the classroom:
1. Your child shows some independence
Primary school is not like daycare or preschool, as the ratio of adults to children is usually 1:20+ in a classroom. Teachers do their best to assist where possible, but children must be able to complete the following tasks with minimal adult guidance:
- Go to the toilet – a MUST in most schools.
- Leave parents in the morning – it can be very traumatic for everyone involved if children have significant difficulty doing this.
- Dress themselves – do they try to put on/take off their jumper by themselves?
- Show some responsibility for belongings – can they put their things away or at least identify their belongings?
2. Your child can sit still for at least 20 minutes
Kindergarten teachers are very good at adapting activities to suit wriggling little bodies. But there are times when children need to sit still and listen, such as school assemblies. Is your child able to sit still and listen in a more formal learning environment?
3. Your child shows an interest in learning and asks questions
Does your child ask always ask you questions? Great! While it can be tiresome, it means they’re developing critical thinking skills. Do they like counting, and can they identify basic numbers? Do they listen to stories and attempt to read them? Can they hold a pencil and do they like drawing and writing their name? These are all great cues that your child is ready to learn at school!
4. Your child can follow simple 2-3 step instructions
The Kindergarten classroom is a busy little hive of learning which can be distracting at times, but sometimes those children who aren’t listening can miss instructions. While teachers are VERY good at repeating instructions, children can be challenged to learn if they’re not able to stop and listen to complete a task.
5. Your child can interact appropriately with others
Generally, schools are much bigger than daycares and preschools. It might be the first time your child has been in a situation with hundreds of other children and adults! The classroom and playground can be overwhelming at times, so children must have a basic understanding of playing safely with others and know how to respond if there is a conflict.
At Begin Bright, we provide School Readiness classes that run for one hour, once a week. We introduce children to some of the aspects of a school environment in our short classes to help them learn how to behave when they begin school. Each lesson covers literacy and numeracy in groups of 8, in a school-like setting. The children participate in singing songs, number and letter games, writing their name, storytime, as well as fun arts and craft activities.
Our main aim is to build children’s confidence in themselves and encourage a love of learning. We ensure that children have the best head start and have acquired all the skills necessary for big school. We have had excellent feedback from previous students now at school, finding our programme has proven to improve children’s learning skills and preparedness for the school environment.
The Begin Bright motto ‘happy, smart and confident children’ represents our positive approach to teaching. Our aim at Begin Bright is to motivate children and promote a teaching programme that the children enjoy. A programme that is flexible and accommodates for all children and learning styles. We believe it is vital to ensure the programme and teaching methods fit each child and not try to fit the child to the programme.
It’s about the little steps, the small achievements that encourage children to strive, learn and challenge themselves.