After months of lockdown, parents may be concerned about their child’s readiness for starting school in 2022. As two primary school trained teachers, we thought we’d share our top tips on how you can help your child prepare for Kindergarten and give them a head start with adapting to a formal school environment.
Build your child’s fine motor strength.
By the time preschoolers reach Kindergarten they need fine-motor strength. Get your preschooler to independently manipulate objects and perform everyday tasks, including doing the zips and buttons on their clothing and backpack, opening their own lunch box, containers and water bottles at the park, as well as taking the lids off their textas and Play-Doh. Also, encourage your preschooler to do lots of colouring, cutting and drawing.
Encourage your child to have a growth mindset.
Children are exposed to an abundance of new environments and academic concepts at school and are required to interact socially with many other children. While these are exciting, new experiences for your child, they will sometimes involve challenges. Help your child to develop resilience and to have a growth mindset by encouraging them to see challenges as opportunities to grow. At the end of each day, make time to reflect on any challenges your child may have encountered during the day. Ask your child questions such as, “how did you overcome the challenge?” and “what could you have done differently?”
Develop your child’s language and communication skills.
One of the best ways to develop your child’s language and communication skills is to read lots of books. Children develop emergent literacy skills by showing an interest in books, turning pages, pretending to read, as well as showing awareness of words and pictures. Ask your child to verbally retell the story you read together as this will build their comprehension skills.
Involve your children in household routines.
Household routines provide rich opportunities for learning as they build a child’s independence. Examples of this include setting the table, taking dirty dishes to the sink, getting dressed and packing away toys. Encourage your child to follow routines and listen carefully to instructions. This will put them in good stead for keeping up with Kindergarten classroom routines, as well as understanding the importance of following routines attentively.
Engage your child in a lot of open-ended play.
One of the most important opportunities parents can provide their children with is open-ended play. The benefits of play are so far-reaching. Play promotes a deep sense of creativity, problem-solving and the ability to develop negotiation skills. Watch your pre-schooler transform their toys into props and create adventures around the house. Don’t for one minute underestimate the mess that will ensue during these sessions but it’s totally worth it in our opinion!
Raema Martyres and Alex Pickering are the co-founders of Budding Brains Learning, an online retail shop that sells learning boxes to prepare preschoolers for school. Both primary school teachers with over 20 years of experience, Raema and Alex are passionate about providing children with rich learning opportunities. Find out more at https://www.buddingbrainslearning.com.au/
Raema Martyres holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)(Honours), Master of Teaching (Primary), Graduate Cert (Gifted Education), Graduate Certificate (Learning Difficulties).
Alexandra Pickering holds a Bachelor of Arts (Performance Studies) and Master of Teaching (Primary).