Starting school is a huge milestone for you and your child and the child’s success or failure in adapting to primary school is crucial. But do we really know if the child is even ‘ready’ for this transition?
What is ‘school readiness’?
School readiness is the measure of the skills and behaviors the child has developed that enables them to participate and succeed in school. School readiness does not only refer to academic (literacy and numeracy skills) but the overall developmental skills of your child- their social, emotional, play, physical-motor, communication and cognitive skills.
Research shows that disregarding these key developmental skills may cause the child to: struggle with academics, develop defiant behaviors, experience difficulty managing daily routines, difficulty taking care of their things and not able to make friends. In fact, the children who start school when they are ‘ready’ have been more successful with school transition.
How can you tell if your child is ‘ready’? Here are a few signs we can look out for:
Language and communication skills
Being able to talk and listen to adults and other children
Being able to follow 3-step instructions and understand basic concepts
Being able to communicate needs
Being able to identify some letters and sounds
Being able to take turns, play with other children and share things with others
Being able to demonstrate basic manners unprompted
E.g. say please, thank you and sorry
Being able to be assertive when necessary and also able to follow another’s lead
Able to read the situation to accurately interpret others’ reactions to their behaviors
Being able to manage their emotions
Being able to separate from parent or peers
Able to recognize their feelings and others’ feelings
Able to follow home and school routines with ease
Having basic number sense
Being able to stay attentive and allows adult to guide actions when learning a new activity
Being able to wait and take turns
Being able to manage their needs without much adult supervision
Physical motor skills
Able to maintain good posture and balance during physical activity
Has the necessary fine motor skills such as being able to grip a pencil, tie shoelaces, turn pages in a book)
Has an adequate level of physical coordination such as being able to run, jump, climb, and play ball
We also need to keep in mind that every child develops at a different pace so there is no timeline to when your child may be ‘ready’ for school. So don’t worry if your child doesn’t demonstrate all of these essential ‘school readiness’ skills and behaviors described above. Instead, let's get them the support they need.