Practical Tips for Parents to Get Kids ‘School Ready’

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I’m a former Deputy Head and Class Teacher for 22 years so I know first hand about teaching Reception Class children – I taught 35 four year olds!

I’ve also raised 2 children.

So, I’m rather shocked by the new survey by Early Years charity Kindred²

93% of teachers say their school is increasing or reallocating resources to manage the school readiness issue!

2.5 hours of teacher time is lost each day!

9 in 10 teachers say this impacts on the rest of the class.

You can read the report here

What You Can Do To Prepare Your Kids For Starting School

Preparing children for school involves a combination of fostering academic readiness, social skills, emotional intelligence, and independence.

Here are some tips for parents to help get their kids school-ready:

Establish routines: Create consistent daily routines for waking up, mealtimes, playtime, and bedtime. This helps children develop a sense of structure and predictability, which are important for school success.

Encourage independence: Teach your child basic self-help skills like dressing themselves, using the bathroom independently, and tidying up toys. Encouraging independence fosters confidence and prepares them for classroom expectations.

Read together: Make reading a regular part of your daily routine. Read aloud to your child and encourage them to participate by asking questions, making predictions, and discussing the story. This helps develop language skills, fosters a love for reading, and prepares them for literacy activities in school.

Promote social skills: Arrange playdates and social activities where your child can interact with peers. Teach them how to take turns, share, and communicate effectively with others. Social skills are essential for forming friendships and navigating classroom dynamics.

Expose them to learning experiences: Visit museums, libraries, parks, and other educational venues. Engage your child in hands-on activities that promote exploration, creativity, and problem-solving. These experiences help broaden their knowledge and curiosity about the world around them.

Encourage curiosity: Foster your child’s natural curiosity by encouraging them to ask questions and explore new ideas. Support their interests and provide opportunities for hands-on learning experiences that cater to their individual strengths and preferences.

Potty Training: Start the potty training process well before the school begins, ideally when your child shows signs of readiness, such as staying dry for longer periods, showing interest in the toilet, or expressing discomfort with wet or soiled nappies.

Hanging Up Their Coat and Changing for PE:

Teach your child how to hang up their coat independently by demonstrating the process and providing gentle guidance as needed. Practice this skill at home until they can do it confidently.

Similarly, teach them how to manage their PE uniform or change into appropriate clothing for physical activities. Practice dressing and undressing, emphasising the importance of organisation and cleanliness.

Encourage your child to take responsibility for their belongings by providing a designated spot for their coat and PE gear at home. Discuss the importance of keeping their belongings tidy and organised both at home and at school.

If your child struggles with these tasks, offer patience and support, breaking down the process into manageable steps and providing gentle reminders as needed.

By integrating potty training and practical tasks like hanging up coats and changing for PE into your child’s routine, you’re not only preparing them for the school environment but also empowering them with essential life skills that will serve them well beyond their school years.

Practice fine motor skills: Help your child develop fine motor skills by engaging in activities such as drawing, colouring, cutting with safety scissors, and playing with building blocks. These skills are important for tasks like writing, drawing, and using classroom materials.

Establish a positive attitude towards learning: Create a supportive and encouraging environment where mistakes are seen as opportunities for learning and growth. Praise your child’s efforts and achievements, and provide constructive feedback when needed. Instilling a positive attitude towards learning sets the stage for academic success.

Prepare for separation: If your child will be attending school for the first time, gradually introduce them to the idea of separation by practicing short periods of time apart. Reassure them that you’ll always come back and help them develop coping strategies for managing any separation anxiety.

Communicate with the school: Stay informed about school policies, events, and expectations by regularly communicating with teachers and school staff. Be involved in your child’s education by attending parent-teacher meetings, volunteering when possible, and staying engaged in their learning journey.

By incorporating these tips into your parenting approach, you can help ensure that your child is well-prepared for the school environment and equipped with the skills and confidence needed to thrive academically and socially.


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