Friday 11 January 2018
In many households at this time of year, there is much excitement about the prospect of starting ‘big school’.
“For children to thrive once they start school, they need to be equipped with some important skills,” said Speech Pathologist with Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), Anneka Freckmann.
“We often think about recognising letters and numbers, but may forget to support children to develop their attention, emotional regulation and self-care skills. Preschool educators have a wealth of knowledge and will be able to help you support your child in this time of transition.” Anneka said.
Things you can practice at home to support school readiness skills:
- Talk about the sounds that letters make, not just letter names. Play ‘I Spy’ with letter sounds, such as ‘I spy something that starts with shhh’
- Read books together, talk about the words on the page, the characters and the story.
- Children who have difficulties with speech sounds are at greater risk of literacy difficulties, and may need a speech pathology referral
- Have a practice school lunch ‘picnic’ at home where your child practices eating from a lunchbox, opening containers and packing away.
- Ensure they are able to toilet themselves independently during the day
- Talk about emotions at home. Name your own emotions to help your child, such as, ‘I feel frustrated because ...’ Develop strategies together, such as ‘When I feel frustrated, I’m going to take three deep breaths’. Practice together when your child is calm, and support them to use the strategies in the heat of the moment.
Behaviour and attention:
- Play board games together to practice turn-taking, rule following and sportsmanship
- Talk to your child about expectations at school, for example that they will have to listen to the teacher and follow the classroom rules.
- Work together to identify the steps in routine tasks (for example at bathtime: turn on the taps, put some soap in, turn off the tap, hop in, wash, get dry, put pyjamas on)
- Attend kindergarten orientation if it is offered at your school. Drive or walk past the school and talk about the new routine.
Fine motor skills:
- Develop fine motor skills through activities such as craft, threading, drawing, tracing and playdough.
If you have concerns regarding any of these skill areas, contact MLHD Centralised Intake on 1800 654 324 to discuss a referral to speech pathology, occupational therapy or dietetics.