How to prepare your child for elementary school

Starting school is a monumental moment in a child’s life! Make sure your child enjoys their first educational experiences by preparing them for it! In order to have a successful and happy start to school, there are several key communication skills that will help your child adjust. While all children develop at different rates and all children have the right to be accepted as they are, here are some of the key areas in which you as a parent/carer can help prepare your child. Here are the key things your child needs to understand before starting school, to keep up and even excel:

– Language development: the child speaks confidently, has a good vocabulary, has been exposed to books, and exhibits pre-reading skills and a desire to read.

– Social maturity: the child makes friends easily and is able to cooperate with others; he is secure, confident, and independent with regard to activities rather than thought (eg, he is able to go to the bathroom on his own).

– Behavior and discipline: The child accepts and respects authority, is obedient and can sit still and listen.

– Health: The child is in good health and has also acquired certain physical abilities. He also has the ability to deal with personal hygiene.

– Desire to learn: The child is curious.

– Specific skills: the child can use equipment (such as scissors or a pencil); count, recognize letters, know his address and write his own name.

To get started, do a few quick checks to see how ready your child is for school:

Can your child:

– Listen to stories, learn rhymes and recognize and name colors?
– Play, share, take turns and adapt to do things differently?
– Coping with change and coping with challenges?
– Dress yourself, pull your pants down and up, wipe your buttocks and wash your hands?
– Converse socially and express their needs?
– Running, jumping, catching, swinging and dancing?
– Cut, paste and use pencils?
– Recognize numbers and start counting?

You can find information about the B4 School Check, a checklist that Plunket from New Zealand recommends all four-year-olds go through, on this website: child-school -Ready/

How can a speech therapist help?

Below are the key skills related to communication and social skills that a speech and language therapist can help prepare your precious child for school.

Communication skills:

Initiate and maintain conversations with adults and other children.
Speak clearly and audibly and maintain eye contact.
Speech is understood by people other than immediate family.
speak without shouting or whispering
Answer inferential questions, for example, why? Whats Next?
Describe recent experiences.
Recite rhythms and sing songs.
retell stories
Understand requests/instructions and seek clarification
Carry out three directions in sequence
Listen carefully and answer questions in a group situation.
Talk reciprocally with peers and participate in conversation.
Interrupt conversations appropriately
Join a conversation appropriately

Social skills

Look at a person when they are speaking and make “eye contact”
Comply with requests, cease activity when requested
Manage frustration and avoid tantrums
Wait patiently for several minutes for adult attention.
Sit at a table and work for 10 minutes (with help)

separated from parents

Begin an activity independently.
Ask for and accept help if needed
Play in an activity for 20 minutes or more
Play co-op with friends for 20 minutes or more
Share your own toys with friends.
Taking turns in a small group game without help
Understand the needs and feelings of others.

Emotional Skills

coping with change
Can be separated from parents easily
Fulfill requests to finish an activity when prompted
You can share your own toys.
Taking turns in a small group without help
Has reasonable control over emotions.
Can fend for himself on the playground
You are responsible for your own possessions.

Intellectual skills

Can work independently on an assigned task
You can sort and combine elements according to simple attributes (size, function, color)
Able to sustain attention in a group setting.
Draw a recognizable picture of your family.
Name basic shapes and colors.
Able to count objects to 10

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