Why School Readiness Is Important For Your Kids

Blog Image for article Why School Readiness Is Important For Your Kids

As a parent, you want to make sure your child is ready for the transition from preschool or kindy to big school. When your child is good and ready to make the move, they’re often better positioned to succeed in terms of learning and socialisation.

Read on to learn more about school readiness and how you can help your child prepare for the transition to school.  

What are the benefits of school?

Attending school provides a range of benefits to not just children, but also society and the wider local community. Some of the main benefits of school include:

  • Education and knowledge: School provides structured learning environments where students acquire knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for personal and professional development.
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills: Through various subjects and activities, students learn to think critically, analyse information and solve problems effectively.
  • Socialisation: School provides opportunities for students to interact with peers, teachers and other members of the community, fostering essential social skills, teamwork and empathy.
  • Personal development: School encourages personal growth by fostering self-discipline, resilience, creativity and curiosity.
  • Promotion of diversity and inclusion: Schools serve as melting pots of diversity, promoting understanding, tolerance and appreciation of different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Health and wellbeing: Many schools offer programs promoting physical and mental health, including physical education classes, counseling services and awareness campaigns on issues like nutrition and mental health.
  • Community engagement: Schools often act as community hubs, bringing together students, parents, educators and local organisations to collaborate on educational initiatives and community projects.
  • Future readiness: Education equips students with the academic and practical skills needed to succeed in higher education, careers and life in general.

It's important that your child is ready to embrace a new learning environment in order to get the most out of school and take advantage of these benefits.


What if my child isn’t ready for school?

Children learn and develop at different rates, so it’s not uncommon for some parents to have their child repeat preschool or kindy if they feel their child isn’t quite ready for the transition to big school. 

Generally, there are a few telltale signs that your child isn’t ready for big school yet. For example, if your child struggles to follow instructions or is easily frustrated, these are good indicators that they don’t have the basic skills needed to start school. Other common signs include:

  • Short attention span,
  • Poor language and communication abilities,
  • Difficulty attempting or acquiring new skills,
  • Dependence on parents or caregivers for tasks like dressing,
  • Lack of daytime toilet training,
  • Poor social interactions with peers of similar age, and 
  • Difficulty comprehending and accepting the consequences of their actions.

Sue Robb, Chief Children's Officer at Goodstart Early Learning, says, “Some children might not be ready for the transition to school. This can be attributed to many reasons and as such parents should be in conversation with the Goodstart teacher to appreciate if their child is not ready to go to school. If this is the case, work with centre to support your child. There is no stigma attached to a child not being ready for school.”      

If you send your child to school before they’re ready, they’ll be more likely to face challenges that could impact their development and school experience. From academic struggles and emotional stress to negative self-image and risks of bullying, it’s often best to wait until your child is ready to take the next step in their education.

School readiness activities for preschoolers

Preparing a preschooler for big school is as exciting as it is important. As a parent, there are a number of activities you can do with your little one to help them feel prepared for the transition. Here are some of our favourite school readiness activities.

Read books

Reading books with your child is a great way to foster a love of reading. Choose a variety of stories, including ones about starting school, to help familiarise your child with the idea. Plus, reading books can also help them to develop their vocabulary and language skills.

Encourage socialising

At primary school, your child will need to feel confident and comfortable socialising and making friends with new children. Arrange playdates with other children to help your preschooler develop social skills like sharing, taking turns and cooperating. 

Even playing board games at home with you or their siblings can help them to develop important social skills, like sharing, waiting, taking turns and even coping with their emotions if they don’t win. These skills are all essential for success at school.

Encourage independence

Encourage your child to dress themselves, pack their own bag, make their lunch and take care of their personal belongings to help them build a sense of autonomy. It’s also important to practice using the toilet independently and washing hands properly as they won’t have as much one-on-one help as they did when they were at preschool or kindy.

Establish a routine

Leading up to the transition to school, it can be helpful to build a daily routine that reflects a day at primary school. Even just introducing more focused indoor and outdoor times can help introduce them to what they can expect when they start school. 

Focus on fine motor skills

When it comes to developing fine motor skills, it’s worth practicing activities that involve hand-eye coordination, like building with blocks or playing with puzzles. Try other activities like threading beads, cutting with safety scissors and drawing or colouring. These types of tasks help to build finger strength and improve endurance, which can help them get through a school day.

Practice language and communication

Language and communication skills are key to success in school, so it can help to get started early with your children. Teach your child to recognise and write their own name. You can also use tracing activities so your child can practice writing letters and numbers. Signing songs, learning the alphabet and reading are all great ways to practice language and improve communication skills. 

Introduce numeracy

Along with literacy and communication skills, numeracy is also important to help your little one succeed in school. Introduce simple math concepts like counting, addition and subtraction using everyday objects like toys or snacks. Play games that involve sorting objects by color, shape or size.

Explore the environment

There’s nothing quite like getting out and about in nature. Besides enjoying the fresh air and getting a bit of exercise, getting outside can be a great way to help your little one get ready for school. 

Explore the outdoors together by going on nature walks, observing plants and animals and chatting about the environment. Use these opportunities to teach your child about basic concepts like the weather, seasons and the importance of taking care of the environment.

Try role-playing

Some children learn best by doing, which is where role-playing comes in. You can use role-playing to act out scenarios related to starting school, like meeting new friends, listening to the teacher and asking for help when needed. 

You can also use role-playing as an opportunity to model correct grammar, sentence structure and appropriate language.

Use positive reinforcement

Praise your child for their efforts and accomplishments, and provide encouragement and support as they navigate this new transition. It’s completely normal for children to feel nervous or uneasy about the transition to school, so encourage them to talk about their emotions to help normalise their feelings. 

But that’s not all. Besides engaging in these activities with your child, Sue from Goodstart suggests, “Parents can support their child’s transition by helping them to get to know their school – driving past it, linking up with families transitioning to the same school, talking about school very positively. It’s also great fun to help children to feel comfortable in their school uniform.”

Moving from preschool or kindy to prep is a huge change for both you and your child, so it’s important to make sure they’re ready to take the next step. 

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