If you have a child younger that 7, it is very helpful to know exactly what skills need to be developed in your child’s formative years, in order for him/her to be school ready. We are going to show you with 6 key areas to focus on. But firstly, what is school readiness?
School readiness starts long before Grade 0. It is the culmination of many years of gradual stills development. During these years children learn most efficiently, continually satisfying their curiosity about the world around them. Parents can provide wonderful learning opportunities by reading and singing to their children and simply by hugging and loving them. Did you know that each of these activities actually helps to grow the brain?
By the age of three, children have developed 80% of their brain. By the age or four, they can use 50% of their adult intelligence. The foundation of a child’s personality is laid within the first 5 years. The primary educator, developer and nurturer during these years is the parent. So before even considering school readiness, it is important that you as the parent understand how your child learns.
1. Emotional and Social Skills
On an emotional level, your child should be confident to see you leave in the morning, knowing you will be back later without worrying during the day about where you are or what you are doing. Children should be able to share with others and co-operate as part of a group, be able to recognise his belongings, take responsibility for them and show respect for others and their belongings, be physically independent in activities like using the toilet putting on shoes and taking off jackets or jerseys. He should feed himself and be able to open his own water bottle and school bag. Perents shoul allow and encourage children to do things for themselves and by themselves.
2. Social Maturity
Children should be able to get along in the playground, socialise with the other children, learn to share and play fair. They need to be aware of other childrens’ feelings and respect their wishes. Children should be able to adhere to the rules of their environment.
TIP: Interactive board games are great for teaching patience, co-operation and important group skills.
3. Physical Maturity
Gross motor skills. The benefit of physical play include development of balance, eye-hand co-ordination and crossing the midline, It also creates strong muscles, able to sit up straight with ease, concentrate during classb and not tire too easily.
TIP: Encourage your children to play physically AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, using their entire bodies.
Fine motor skills. This includes using scissors, drawing, colouring in, pegging and threading. These skills require good co-ordination of the small muscles, which take longer than the large muscles to develop and master. Children with good control of the small muscles in their hands will soon be able to grasp a pencil correctly and will master the art of writing very quickly.
TIP: Use blocks, pegboards and and beads. Practise cutting, tracing and colouring skills.
4. Intellectual Abilities
Cognitive skills: This refers to the child’s thinking skills covering aspects like visual, language, literacy and maths skills. These skills have to be well practised before a child is school ready.
Visual skills include matching, sorting like objects according to size and thickness, putting pictures into sequences and picking the odd one out.
Language development. Literacy – recognising shape is the first step towards recognising letters.
TIP: Children should practice following direction from left to right in order to understand that reading needs to be done in the same way. Completing sequences leads to closure which is essential for good reading skills.
Maths skills are best practised using concrete apparatus like cubes and beads. To be school ready your child needs to count in a meaningful way. Counting out load to 100 may have no meaning at all but counting live beads and comparing the beads is of great value to the child. Sorting and matching play a vital role in maths as does understanding the concept of size, weight and length.
TIP: Teach your child bigger/smaller, longer/shorter, in front of, next to, on top, highest/lowest, and more or less. This is the language that sets the foundation for primary school maths.
By playing with your child and incorporating these contacts in your everyday interactions you will provide these skills without making your child feel pressurised and insecure.
You can play the FUZZ AND DITTO games with your child as it is jam packed with over 40 skills per game.