As parents, sending your child off to school always brings with it a degree of anxiety. We wonder whether our child is ready- Will they make friends? What school should I send them to? What can I do to help prepare them? The list goes on.
While I don’t like offering an exhaustive ‘check-list’ as this can sometimes increase anxiety levels, I do see that it is helpful to share a number of things you can be doing at home to connect with your child and help them be more school-ready.
- Read with and to your child
The latest research shows that reading daily to a child has a significant positive effect on their reading and levels of understanding and this is regardless of their family or home environment. As you read with your child:
- talk about the book
- look at the pictures (they are so important and are an essential part of the beginning to read!)
- ask questions
- make connections between the story and your child’s life
- make predictions about what could happen next.
Reading extends vocabulary. An extensive vocabulary is also an indication of later reading success. Picture Story Books contain rich language.
Another thing to note- don’t stop reading to your child when they can read for themselves: continue the habit for as long as possible.
2. Talk to your child
An important part of learning is being able to listen, recall and retell. Ask your child questions, have them explain things, learn rhymes together.
3. Help to develop fine motor skills
This helps students progress further. Use play-dough, scissors, pencils, paint, puzzles and threading as a way of developing these fine motor skills. When using a pencil or scissors, it is wonderful if you can show the correct grip of pencil and scissors.
4. Develop independence
Encourage your child to do things for themselves. This can include things like getting them to dress themselves, to put on their own socks, to pour a drink and to wash their hands after the toilet. It is also important to encourage your child to start making decisions for themselves (like what will I have for morning tea or breakfast?). We want our children to thrive, not just survive in their first year of school.
At Richmond, we offer the Pre-Kindy Program to assist you in preparing your child for school. We have found great success in our students enrolling in Pre-Kindy and then transition beautifully into Richmond Christian College for their schooling years.