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what does it mean to be school ready?

There has been much discussion regarding the pace of the prep curriculum. Many parents are keen to make sure their child is ready to cope with the range of demands of school. When looking at school readiness, I divide it into 5 areas.

  • Self management skills
  • Fine motor
  • Gross motor
  • Social emotional
  • Cognitive/thinking skills

There is a lot to cover under these headings, here are some ideas to get you started.  

  • Kids need a strong core to allow stability for writing, paying attention, sitting still during floor time and other fine motor and gross motor skills. I believe it is the key to many of the challenges in the kids I see. There are so many ways you can help your child to build their core strength. Crawling/rolling on the floor, animal walks, climbing trees or on the playground, tummy lying when doing puzzles/drawing, kid’s yoga or bouncing on a therapy ball.
  • To help with fine motor skills, think of little changes you can make at home. For example, serve dinner using tongs instead of cutlery (they will love the novelty!), give them finger foods such as small grapes, sultanas, cherry tomatoes, make biscuits – mould them in the hand to make it an extra fine motor challenge.   Weightbearing in all fours is important to help develop stability in the hand ready for writing as well.   For example, crawling through tunnels, crawling races or simply holding still in this position to do a puzzle or draw with chalk.
  • Self management is another important area, children need to learn to manage their own belongings and organize themselves ready for tabletop work. There are many little changes you can make at home to increase your child’s independence, some of these include, managing their clothing, putting their plates in the sink, completing chores such as bringing in groceries from the car and following basic schedules.

Building these into your routine can help your child prepare for writing and their performance at school generally. Consider which of these you can include in small everyday activities, hence making it is easier to continue with when your child starts at prep. Good luck!

Sarah Broderick
Occupational Therapist