Welcome to part 1 of our School Readiness blopost.
It’s that time of the year where Occupational Therapist’s start receiving lots of pre-schooler referrals, to assist their parents in deciding whether to send their child to school the following year or whether to hold them back. This is a very topical question in NSW, as in the public school system children can start school as long as they turn 5 before the 31st July. Put this together with the child who was held back and turned 6 in January and you have an 18 month age gap for Kindergarten teachers to meet the needs of.
In determining whether your child is ready for school, I think it’s important to look at the skills they are going to require when they start school. As we do some of our work in schools we get to have a close look at the skills children need. So what skills do they need for Kindergarten?
Self Care Skills
Can they manage to open their snack packets, drink bottles, lunch boxes?
Can they manage their uniform – put their own shoes and socks on, take a jumper on/off, get changed for swimming lessons etc.
Can they toilet independently?
Are they able to manage their own belongings? Can they keep all their school belongings together and bring it home each day?
Fine Motor Skills
Can your child hold a pencil with a functional tripod grip?
While we talk about pencil grips a lot, the correct grip requires your child to have adequate shoulder, arm, hand and finger strength, good finger dexterity, a dominant hand established, and adequate motor control.
Can your child hold a pair of scissors correctly and cut out accurately?
Is your child able to write their name with the correct letter formations?
When your child is learning to write their name at home, it’s important not to let them get into bad habits with their letter forms. They need to write their names using NSW foundation font that they will use at school. Only the first letter of their name should be a capital.
Can your child draw basic shapes?
Shapes are foundational skills for writing and it’s important that children learn to draw them before they start school.
Can your child colour in accurately?
Whilst we get feedback from parents that “Don’t children learn to do these things at school”, unfortunately not any more. The school curriculum is packed and from day 1, they are straight into writing, colouring and cutting.
If your child is struggling with any of these skills, Lisa Hughes from Occupational Therapy Helping Children would be happy to discuss your child’s school readiness with you to ensure that your child can develop these skills and start school on a confident and positive note.
Stay tuned for Part two of School Readiness next week.