We get asked lots about how parents can prepare their children for the transition to primary school.
The following ideas/suggestions are meant as a guide, but please remember every child’s learning is unique to them and what works for one child may not work for another.
- Encourage correct pencil grip and foster fine motor skills through the use of tweezers, tongs and a variety of writing materials, eg: fat crayons, thin pencils, stubby chalk.
- Encourage correct use of scissors, show your child how to place their fingers correctly and practise squeezing to close the blades.
- Encourage correct formation of lower case letters and only use capitals to start a name or sentence.
- Encourage writing of first name and some basic knowledge of numerals, colours, and alphabet.
- Encourage risk taking, eg, climbing, balancing, and physical challenges.
- Encourage the social skills of sharing, turn taking and saying please and thank you, excuse me.
- Encourage language development by reading stories, using rhymes, playing imaginary games and board games.
- Encourage your child to talk about things they see around them and build complex sentences.
- Use open ended questions to extend language and learning, eg example, when reading a story ask your child “what do you think happened next?”
- Encourage independence by allowing children to make choices and make mistakes. Mistakes are “learning steps” let children see adults making mistakes and explain it is an acceptable form of learning.
- Encourage self help skills, eg: caring for clothing, putting shoes on and off, blowing and wiping their own nose with a tissue, dressing and undressing themselves.
- Ensure that your child is able to open pre-packaged foods and glad wrap in their lunchboxes as teachers are not always available to do this and ensure lunchboxes can be opened and closed by the child.
- Within the first year of school try to keep the after school activities such as swimming, gym etc down to a minimum
- Encourage routine bedtimes and wind down time before bed.
- Include learning in everyday situations like counting cars when driving, talking about left and right, making comparisons like which person is taller etc.
- Under emphasize starting school/turning 5 as this can cause considerable anxiety and expectations for the child- encourage the concept that learning and school are fun.