“School readiness” is a term that often gains momentum as the end of the year approaches and a new schooling year appears on the horizon. Often, when we discuss school readiness many parents and educators instantly think of numbers, letters and other academics. But realistically, preparing for school is a whole child and whole family approach and refers to a much broader range of skills. We also need to be aware of each individual child’s developmental level and abilities.

 Sending a child to school can be daunting, but with a bit of forethought and organisation it can also be a smooth transition. Here are some areas to look into when thinking about sending your child to school.

Is your child socially ready?

The ability to engage in relationships in an appropriate manner, interact with others, follow social cues and form friendships. Being able to get along with other children, problem solve, take turns and compromise.

Is your child emotionally ready?

Being able to manage emotions most of the time, follow instructions and handle the hustle of a busy school day. Being able to sit and listen.

Is your child able to communicate and articulate their needs?

The ability to talk and listen, speak clearly, communicate needs and comprehend instructions/rules.

Is your child showing signs of independence?

Being able to manage their needs with minimal adult input, toilet independently, put on and take off shoes, dress themselves, unpack lunchboxes and keep tabs on their belongings.

Here are some ideas to get you started;

Arrange plenty of opportunity for children to play with other children in large and small group situations.

Read to your child as often as possible.

Play board games that encourage turn-taking and waiting.

Practice dressing and undressing, putting shoes on and taking them off.

Encourage independent toileting

Encourage self-expression through art/music/movement

Practice opening and closing lunchboxes, containers, school bags and drink bottles

Remember, that each child is an individual and they all develop in their own time. If you are ever concerned about your child’s development and readiness discuss with their Early Childhood Educator, GP or the school they are going to attend.