Transitioning to ‘Big School’ is an exciting time in your child’s life. Together with Turramurra Kindergarten we can make the transition from preschool to ‘’big school’’ easy and exciting. Our goal is to ensure your child is fully prepared in every way possible to transition effectively to the new set of learning objectives in the school environment.
PREPARING FOR 'BIG SCHOOL'
It is a big step to big school. And not just for the children!
As much as the milestone of starting school is an exciting one, it can also be one that is fraught with worry. Is your child ready for school? And how can we at Turramurra kindergarten help prepare them for the transition?
At Turramurra kindergarten we will dive into all things school readiness so we can support your child for the next stage in their education.
School readiness may not be what you think it is. Rather than focusing on whether a child can read and write, school readiness is measured against a set of skills that children need to succeed at school.
Consider social skills like the ability to get along with other children. Or skills like being able to open a zipper or hold a pencil. Without these types of skills, sitting and listening to a teacher and participating in learning activities are all that much more difficult. They can be the difference between a child who thrives and a child who feels overwhelmed by the school experience.
Think of school readiness as the foundation on which your child will build their education. The more solid the foundation, the better they are likely to adapt to life at school.
Think of all the things your child will learn in their first year of school. Think of all the experiences they will have. Without the basic school readiness skills, they can become frustrated at school. Maybe they will not be able to follow the teacher’s instructions or effectively communicate what they need. This puts them on the back foot, working much harder than their peers to catch up. This can also affect children beyond the first year of school, carrying through their many years of education.
School readiness is not about deciding when a child is ready to start school. It is about setting your child up for success.
There are physical, social, and developmental factors that combine to determine school readiness. Can your child play or work well with other children? Do they have solid self-help skills that they can perform independently? Are they interested in learning new things and new skills?
These factors will come into play in different ways for every child. Just because a child looks physically ready for school, does not mean they have the social maturity required to form new friendships.
Foundational school readiness skills cross a range of different areas of development. Children will develop the skills at different times and that is completely normal. The skills combine to give your child the best start at school. And one on which their teacher can build.
All these school readiness skills rest on a set of social, emotional, and cognitive building blocks. These are the building blocks that children start to develop from the time they are born.
- Receptive and expressive language so children can express themselves and understand other people.
- Executive functioning and bigger picture thinking.
- Social skills and how they interact with their peers and others.
- Planning and sequencing to follow multi-step instructions.
- Sensory integration or processing to different sensory stimuli around them.
- Self-regulation and emotional regulation.
- Articulation and pronunciation of words.
Children must be enrolled in school by the time they turn six. If they turn five on or before 31 July of that year, they can enrol to start school.
For some parents, there will not be any question of if your child is ready for school. They are already 5 and it is almost like they were born ready. For many other parents, it is not so straightforward.
When you are considering this question, call on the expertise of our professional team leaders and managers at Erina kindergarten for advice. If your child sees any health professionals, such as a speech or occupational therapist, our team leaders’ and managers insights can also be invaluable.
At Erina kindergarten we also encourage families to speak with local schools who are also a good source of support in helping to decide if your child is ready for primary school. Visit the school and attend our annual school readiness orientation sessions held each year in July at Erina kindergarten where you can ask questions and get more information.
If your gut is telling you that your child might not have the basic skills, they need to start school, there are likely some signs you can look out for.
Generally, a child that is not ready for school will struggle to follow instructions and become frustrated easily. They may also have a shorter attention span and lack the social and emotional maturity of their peers.
Other signs include:
- Poor language and communication skills
- Resistance to trying or learning new things
- Relying on parents or carers for tasks such as getting dressed
- Not yet toilet training during the day
- Poor social interactions with children of the same age
- Challenges with understanding and accepting consequences
What Other Problems Can Occur?
School readiness challenges are also common to happen alongside some other difficulties. They may have difficulty regulating their emotions and following social norms, such as sharing or taking turns. Following instructions that contain multiple steps can also be challenging.
They may lack self-control or the ability to think flexibly and plan out the steps they will take to complete a task. Both gross and fine motor skills can also be lacking. This impacts on a child’s ability to run, jump, throw a ball, use scissors, hold a pencil and many other tasks they need to do at school.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your team leader or manager at Erina kindergarten or a health professional for advice. We are here to help where we can.
Whatever stage your child is at, there is a lot we can to do support them as they develop the school readiness skills they need. The most important thing we can do is provide your child with lots of encouragement. Spend time with your child, playing, reading, drawing, singing, talking, and listening and we encourage you to do this at home as much as possible.
Some specific things we will do to help with school readiness will also include:
- Encouraging your child to practice their independence with self-help skills such as going to the toilet alone.
- Finding constant opportunities to count objects, e.g., counting the rocks as you put them in the garden or counting the blocks as you put them away.
- Playing board games together to learn about taking turns. Snakes and ladders is a favourite option for our pre-schoolers.
- Building simple obstacle courses in the play yards and to practise gross motor skills. Playing ball sports which involve throwing of balls
- Doing craft activities using scissors, textas, pencils, crayons, and glue to practice fine motor skills.
- Playing social games to allow practice of social skills & social discussions/interactions
Erina kindergarten provides an educational preschool program with a strong emphasis on school readiness that prepares the children for entering the primary school system. Parents and the preschool educators share a role in making children feel safe and secure as they transition to a new educational setting.
The key aspects of school readiness are integrated throughout our preschool program and routine from the moment the children enter preschool at the age of 3, moving right through to their transition to primary school. The School Readiness Program is expanded for our pre-schoolers in their final year before school to ensure that they are given the maximum opportunities to learn new skills, as well as refine existing abilities. We recognise that children up to seven years old learn best through play, and that just as important as skill development is their development of social and emotional wellbeing, which is needed to be an active and positive learner.
Our aim is to promote lifelong learners; our program will be adapted to the children’s individual needs to ensure the children are socially and emotionally ready to enter primary school with the confidence and resilience to ensure a successful and comfortable transition. Children will be provided with a variety of experiences in their daily program according to their needs and level of understanding which will help make the transition to school a positive experience.
Staff will endeavour to create partnerships between Erina kindergarten and the local schools in our community to ensure an open exchange of information and understanding regarding entry requirements and preparation.
School Readiness Program includes:
- Importance of self-respect and respect of others.
- Promoting social skills when interacting with other children and educators.
- Self-regulation and language development.
- Self- help skills and responsibility for their personal belongings.
- Confidence and high self-esteem promoted in each individual child.
- Foundations of Literacy and Numeracy
Some more examples of how our centre implements the Early Years Learning Framework into our programs to promote these skills includes but is further not limited to;
- Enhances visual perception and spatial relationships
- Extends early mathematical concepts and language such as counting and measurement
- Promotes thinking, planning and problem solving
- Facilitates social skills such as collaboration
- Increases physical health and wellbeing
- Encourages autonomy, resilience and a sense of agency
- Extend social skills such as taking turns
- Promotes lateral thinking and problem solving
- Facilitate an understanding and respect for the environment
- Develop the ability to explore, infer, predict and hypothesise
- Increased understanding of sustainability and children’s role in it
- Provides opportunity to experiment with colour, shape, texture and line
- Develops symbolic thinking and expression
- Promotes the ability to make choices and decisions
- Facilitates expression of ideas, thoughts and feelings
Music and Movement
- Enhances personal and cultural identity
- Provides opportunity to express emotions and feelings
- Develops body awareness, rhythm and coordination
- Enhance social skills such as sharing and collaboration
- Develops hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills
- Promotes logic, reasoning and systematic thinking
- Improves concentration and persistence
- Increases visual discrimination and spatial awareness
- Develop a sense of identity
- Facilitate expression of ideas and feeling and strong emotions
- Nurture empathy
- Provide opportunities to explore other identities and points of view
- Stimulates the imagination and broadens understanding of the world
- Extends speech, language and vocabulary
- Increased awareness that ideas and feelings can be expressed in print
- Develop the ability to enjoy moments of solitude
- Provides time for reflection
- Nurture emotional wellbeing and sense of identity
- Enhance feelings of being and belonging
- Provide opportunity to explore, predict and infer
- Promote logical thinking
- Instil a sense of wonder and awe
- Facilitate understanding of self and place in the world
- Enhances visual perceptions, colour, pattern, shape and detail
- Facilitate social skills such as collaboration
- Encourage persistence
- Develops a positive attitude to new tools, new methods, new results
- Promotes competence, skill and adaptability
- Enhances functional life skills
- Provides opportunity to investigate, imagine and explore ideas
We understand that school is very different to early childhood education. The school environment is more structured with unfamiliar people and things.
As we support your child with the transition to starting school, we understand the importance of communicating regularly and positively with both yourself and your child.
We encourage families to also take your child for a visit to their new school or show them photos and talk to them about school routines. Let them try on their uniform and get them excited about the adventures that lie ahead.
If you know other families going to the same school as your child, we also encourage you try to spend a bit of time with them before school. Your child will appreciate the familiar faces! We will also be reading lots of books about starting school that will encourage lots of class discussions about starting big school. We encourage families/carers to also read books at home and talk to your child about big school.
Questions about big school are normal. Your child may be excited. Or they may feel worried or scared. Remember that your child will also be impacted by your emotions so try to stay positive and upbeat, even if you are feeling worried yourself. Please feel free to talk to your Childs team leader or the centre manager about any questions or concerns you have.