Tips to help ease your child’s transition into “big school”. Picture:Dumisani Dube
Tips to help ease your child’s transition into “big school”. Picture:Dumisani Dube

How to get your child ready for ’big school’

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Sep 20, 2021

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For parents and children, the step up into Grade 1 is a time of excitement and great anxiety. But with the pandemic, which led to disruptions, getting your child through this transition is challenging.

How do you know if your child is ready for this step?

Firstly, parents should be guided by qualified teachers to assess a child’s readiness to begin and take the step up to the start of their formal schooling.

What exactly is school readiness?

School readiness is a measure of how prepared a child is to succeed at school and involves two types of readiness: a readiness to learn (which is continuous) and a readiness for school (which is associated with a fixed age).

School readiness depends on both emotional maturity and scholastic ability. It is split into different areas and, although these areas are separate, they do interact with and reinforce each other. Children need to be developed across these key five areas.

Here are the five key area solutions discovered by Jenny Trollip, Head of Department at St Martin’s Junior Preparatory Phase.

1. Physical and motor development

  • Gross motor, for example, running, skipping, standing on one leg.
  • Fine motor, for example, comfortable using a pair of scissors, successfully doing zips and buttons, is able to use cutlery.
  • Perceptual development, both visual and auditory.
  • Taking care of themselves, for example, manages to go to the toilet by themselves.

2. Emotional and social development

  • A child who is emotionally well-adjusted has a significantly greater chance of early school success.
  • Gets along with peers, can interact within a group or shows an interest in other children, willing to help a friend.
  • Can express feelings and needs.
  • Can share.
  • Can sit still, for example, long enough to listen to a story.
  • Can concentrate on a task for a reasonable amount of time.
  • Able to deal with frustration in an acceptable way.

3. Cognitive development

  • Can make independent decisions and follow through.
  • Have ideas of their own.
  • Can follow simple directions or instructions.
  • Shows an interest in learning.

4. Language development (includes literacy, listening, speaking and vocabulary)

  • Should be able to communicate effectively in home language.
  • Be able to sequence (retell a story or a set of events).
  • Identify similarities and differences between objects.

5. Emotional maturity

  • Independence.
  • Reasonable control over emotions.
  • Basic problem-solving skills.
  • Confidence.
  • Shows responsibility.
  • Handles separation well

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