School readiness: Points to consider

How ready is your child for school?
How ready is your child for school? 

With the new school year just around the corner many parents are wondering if they've made the right decision to enrol, or hold back, their child from school.

The Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, has compiled this list of considerations for parents.

Language skills
Communication is used to engage with and teach your child. A child needs to be able to follow instructions and understand what teachers are saying, as well as being able to communicate well with teachers and the other students.

Motor co-ordination and skills 
A child needs co-ordination skills to allow them to dress and undress, unwrap lunch, use a pencil and scissors, and participate in other activities that require eye hand and motor co-ordination.

Concentration and emotional adjustment
A child needs to be able to socialise and play with their classmates. They also need to be able to deal with the structured nature of a more formal learning environment, such as being able to focus on tasks, follow directions and instructions from teachers, cope with transitions, and understand the rules.

A child needs to be able to deal with the structured nature of a more formal learning environment, such as being able to focus on tasks, follow directions and instructions.

Independence
A child needs a range of skills so that they can cope with minimum adult supervision. This includes going to the toilet by themselves, dressing, and being able to follow a structured classroom routine.

Simple activities to encourage school readiness:

  • Read to your child and use books as a pleasurable daily shared activity.
  • Make everyday things an exploration of language – ask the child questions, listen carefully to their answers, and encourage the child to ask why.
  • Encourage the child’s natural curiosity – do different things with them, encourage them to try different ways of doing things. Make a walk in the park a nature tour.
  • Encourage the child to learn to dress and undress independently, and to use the toilet appropriately.
  • Make sure the child has crayons and pencils and a supply of paper to draw and write on, and always praise their efforts.
  • Encourage your child to mix with other children in different supervised activities so they learn to socialise with their peers, take turns and share their toys and books.

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