Yes, this is about school readiness, so keep reading. We will endeavour to give you a little insight into what is needed from the ground up. We have been sending children to school from preschool for over 20 years now and we also work in conjunction with the teachers in these schools.
The NSW government has made it extremely hard for parents to make the decision to send to school or not. It is perhaps one of the most important decisions some parents are faced with so far in their child’s life. If a child turns 5 before 31st July then they legally can attend school. Other parents are holding their children back until they are just about to turn 6, which is also legal as long as they are in school before they turn 6. So what is happening is that teachers are dealing with a classroom of new children with the potential to be 18 months difference in age. One teacher with 30 children in a class can spell disaster for those children who are not yet ready to take on the challenge of learning within a school environment as they get left behind. Anyone in the Early Childhood profession knows that there is such a huge developmental difference at this age.
There is an analogy that we at Back On Track, Early Childhood Professionals use to explain to parents, carers and Nannies what the expectations are for starting school to enable that child to thrive.
Yes, it starts just like the foundations of a house.
In our terminology, the foundations are exactly the same as a child’s Social and Emotional development. Things like conflict resolution, using their words to ask questions, being able to sit and be attentive in a group situation, taking turns and working co-operatively with other peers. We are being asked every year that if a child can write his name and count to 20 they must be ready, well in fact, no, that is incorrect. It can be a little confusing but think about this. You may have the smartest child who can read some words, write their name and count to 50 but if they do not have the foundations that are secure and strong then eventually something will cave in and crumble and all the important formal and cognitive learning that is taking place in the classroom will just not happen.
With this in mind, for anyone who spends time with a 4 year old, here are some questions that may assist you in knowing if a child is ready for school or not, which are all indicators of the foundation work.
Can your child
Separate from his carer?
Look after their belongings?
Share your attention with others?
Listen and share ideas with you and other children?
Concentrate for about 10 minutes without losing concentration?
Start a task and finish it also?
If you have answered yes to the above questions, then it is clear that the child in question is exhibiting all the crucial developmental milestones that will support all other forms of formal learning.
I’m not saying that being able to write your name and count to 20 is not important, however, a child who is ready for school will be demonstrating an interest in counting, numbers, words and writing. It is age appropriate for these cognitive abilities to start to expand and develop.
We at Back On Track guide Parents into making the right decision for their child so that they are starting them in a school environment with the potential to be successful from the start. We also suggest ideas that you can do in the home environment to extend your child based upon their interest and needs.
We wish you all the very best in the decision making process and leave you with this very popular song that is sung in preschools and childcare centres every day.
Build it up build it up build it high
Build it up up up into the sky
Build it up build it up build it higher
Build it up up up up up into the sky