Is your child ready to start school in September? Have you heard of ‘School Readiness’ a phrase that is often referred to during the summer term. But what does it mean? Where has it come from? Hopefully I can answer some of these questions and give you a better understanding of what school readiness means, which might surprise you….
The term school readiness originates from a report which looked at the requirements for getting those children ready for school from deprived areas. However, it was given in reference to those children starting school at age 5, yet many children in the UK start school at age 4 (by law in England children need to start school the term after their fifth birthday). When children start school in the reception class, this year is still part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). So how can children be school ready for this next transition in their lives?
You may be surprised to hear that being school ready is not about recognising numbers or letters, writing names, reading words and the more academic stuff. Obviously if your child can do these things that’s great, but children all develop at different rates and what reception teachers want is more related to a child’s personal, social & emotional development. So, can your child/ren…
- Put on & take off their own coat?
- Get undressed/ dressed independently?
- Go to the toilet independently and wipe their own bottom?
- Share with their peers?
- Play alongside & with their peers?
- Listen & follow instructions?
- Communicate their needs verbally?
- Separate from their parent/carer without distress
- Go all day without a nap?
These skills are important as children are going to have to be more independent once at school. They are going to be in a class of 30 children with a minimum of 2 adults, imagine getting all those coats on at playtime if they haven’t learned this basic skill! As a parent/ carer try to allow extra time to practice these skills and not always do it for them (although there might be times you need to????). Ensure you are in a good routine now for bedtime so this doesn’t affect their daily activities, being tired can affect children’s behaviour and have a knock-on effect for their learning.
With all this in mind something I always strive for the children in my care is that they are excited about learning and that they want to learn. No pressure is applied as we don’t want to put off our young learners who are so inquisitive and curious about the world around them. Starting school is a new chapter in theirs and your life, it should be exciting & fun. There might be tears (usually from parents) but if we can give children a head start by learning these skills it will make life much easier for the reception staff, you and most importantly the children.
Written by Theresa Ewin BA (HONS) Early Childhood Education Studies,
Proprietor of Playdays Day Nursery, Newport, Shropshire