School readiness is the hot topic amongst parents with children who are about to enter elementary school. As you hear those words you may think it means being able to read and write, and knowing basic math – but it’s a lot more than that. School readiness is about the all-rounded development of a child and can be broken down into different aspects such as physical skills, independence, confidence, cognitive skills, and social and emotional competence.
What Your Child Needs to be Ready for School
1. Physical Readiness and Independence
Independence is an important foundation stone for early learning and development. Having your child learn to do simple things like tying his/her shoe laces and slathering on sunscreen are basic skills which play a big part in developing independence – and school readiness.
The autonomy of children in preschool helps build the confidence they need to take on big school. As kids develop independence, they’ll learn to cope with less adult supervision, such as going to the bathroom by themselves, eating from their lunch box, and having a more structured classroom routine.
The most important skills you can teach your little one is a sense of ownership over his/her learning, which builds confidence and resilience. Your child is about to take a big step. Helping them understand what that step is and celebrating the importance of it gives them the confidence they need to move forward and succeed.
2. Confidence to Take On New Experiences
The common needs of a kindy child are familiarity, love, safety, predictability and consistency. Ensuring your child’s needs are met will help him/her build confidence and better adjust to big school. Here are a few ideas to help build your child’s confidence and make him/her feel more comfortable about changing schools and making new friends.
- Boost your child’s confidence about the change in uniform and school by including him/her in the process of shopping for school items and clothes.
- Involve them in the process of packing their lunch and bag when you go out for a picnic in the park. This will give them some practice of what they will have to do when school starts.
- Encourage your child’s natural curiosity and build excitement around the first day of school. Talk about all the interesting features of his/her new school, encourage questions, and be sure to address any of his/her queries or concerns.
- Get involved in the orientation program. Give your child the chance to meet teachers, schoolmates and tour the school grounds. Your physical presence as your child makes his/her first connections at his/her new school will help in confidence building and developing a sense of security.
3. Social and Emotional Competence
As children enter a new environment, they may feel a bit overwhelmed or shy. This is where their social skills help them make new friends and communicate with teachers and other kids their age.
It’s very easy for differences to arise between children of the same age, whether over toys, play or words that have been said. Having basic social skills, as well as understanding how one feels and being able to express that can really help a child feel comfortable.
As children feel competent in their self-care and ability to relate to other people, they are better able to adjust to the conventions of the classroom and to sharing the attention of the teacher. It’s important for children to feel like they belong in their new class.
4. Honing Communication and Cognitive Skills
A child’s oral language is continuously being developed. In fact, adults themselves are continuously refining this skill. There’s also a big focus on reading, writing and comprehension throughout the schooling journey – and this is something that starts in the earliest years at preschool.
As your child enters primary school, he/she should be able to read basic words, comprehend the meaning behind the stories read, write the alphabet in both lower and uppercase, and construct meaningful short sentences independently. Daily reading to your child will go a long way as he/she learns to listen to the stories and put the sound of the word to the print of the text. Encourage your child to ask questions about the story or the pictures as this helps him/her to better comprehend the story.
Read also: Encouraging Literacy is as Easy as ABC
5. Ongoing Learning Through Enrichment
As children progress through school, it is important to continue to nurture their curiosity to learn and further develop their cognitive skills with a proactive approach. The MindChamps Enrichment program helps children master the art of reading and writing for creative expression and academic excellence. Keep an eye out for our Enrichment Program in 2021. Give your child the best gift they could ask for – an invaluable education that will truly set them up for success.
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Written by Reshmi Lal