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How to know if your child is ready for their first year of school 

 Have you ever worried about when the right time to enroll your child in school is? Children born in the earlier months of the year can join the class of children born in the previous year, but it does not always mean that they are necessarily ready. Read through for some tips on how to help them prepare for their first formal year of school! 

Signs of readiness 

Research has shown that these are some good indicators of whether your child is ready to jump into school: 

  • Are they able to follow simple instructions (packing up, getting dressed)? 
  • Can they focus on a singular task for a short period of time? 
  • Can they sit for a short period of time (listening to a story)? 
  • Can they go to the bathroom by themself? 
  • Can they play with other children their age? 

Did you notice that we didn’t say whether your child can write their name? Interestingly, being socially and emotionally ready for school is even more important than being academically ready. Your child might be able to count or know their letters, but if they can’t adhere to things like rules or a timetable, then school may be a daunting experience!  

Don’t panic! 

If teachers have expressed concerns about your child being enrolled too early, there is no need to panic!  

For children who struggle with social situations, activities outside of school can be super beneficial: 

  • Preschool introduces them to routine and develops independence from their parents 
  • Playgroups help your children experiment with friendships 
  • Swimming lessons allow them to learn how to follow instructions 
  • Organised sports allow children to learn how to navigate the rules of a game 

If the issues seem to be in academic areas, then extra support at home is the solution: 

  • Allowing them to be more independent (packing their own school bag or lunch box)  
  • Having a structured timetable to introduce them to routine 
  • Encouraging fine motor activities (using pegs, playdough, threading beads) can help with their pencil grip and early writing skills 
  • Seek professional help! There is never shame in wanting what’s best for your child 
  • Talk to teachers and the headmasters of the schools you’re interested in. 

Enrolling your child in school is always a tough decision. But with these tips, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that will ensure your child will have the best schooling experience possible! Remember, in all of this, you are helping your child to foster the joy of learning, from your very own home!

This article was inspired by episode #61 of the Parent-Teacher Project with Catherine Tilley entitled, ‘Is Your Child Ready For School?’

Listen to the entire episode below.

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