Five Things to Think About Early When Preparing your Child for School

School readiness doesn’t just happen the month or term before your child is due to start school. School readiness is a bit like life readiness – it starts from the get-go and is not about the academics or knowing everything on the first day. Instead, it is about your child walking through the school gates for the first time feeling confident, safe, and happy! Here are five tips that may have you thinking about school readiness in a whole different light!

1. Play, play and more PLAY!

All those play-based learning activities you do together are invaluable for school readiness. Play is essential for learning, confidence building, social and emotional development, and sense of self. Open-ended play and independent play are important. However, structuring the play and providing opportunities for roleplay will allow your little one to work through questions, concerns, or feelings they might be experiencing about starting school. 

2. Read and keep on reading!

Sharing stories with your child will help their imagination and language development, help spark curiosity, and encourage a love of learning. Everything always comes back to reading and books, in my opinion. There is so much connection and understanding that can be found in reading a good book.

3. Get those fingers moving – work on building fine motor muscles.

Strong fine motor muscles are essential for children learning to write correctly. It’s also vital for cutting, gluing, opening, closing, threading, tying, and other tasks that help your little one’s Independence grow! Our favourite fine motor activities include –

  • Playing with Lego
  • Using tongs or tweezers
  • Using pegs
  • Adding stickers to drawings
  • Making patterns with loose parts
  • Threading pasta, buttons, or beads
  • Cutting safely with scissors
  • Crating with playdough

4. Encourage your little daredevil and encourage risk-taking

Encouraging your child to take risks will benefit immensely both physically and emotionally. Risk-taking leads to great self-confidence! It is essential to communicate with children the dangers associated with different tasks. Introducing risk gradually will help your child feel safe with their decision and abilities and allow the appropriate conversations to happen along the way.

5. Let them do it on their own and build Independence

Letting your little one choose their clothes, set the table for the family or navigate the playground on their own will help build their Independence and confidence. Both are crucial for success start to school! You can read more about the importance of building Independence and some practical ways you can support your child here.

Getting your school ready is not meant to bring on stress or anxiety. You would have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about academics in my above list. Yes, there is a place to expose little ones to name recognition, letters and numbers. However, these should not be the focus when preparing for your child to walk through the gates on the first day at school. Instead, focus on playing, reading, building Independence, encouraging risk-taking and strengthening those little fingers!

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