Preparing your child for school

Parents and early childhood educators should consider a range of skills when deciding if a child is ready for school. It is not just about the child’s age.

The following is a list of things that your child should be able to do most of the time before they start school. These are skills that are expected in most school settings.

Things to consider

Self-help skills – Is your child independent in using the toilet and washing their hands; can they dress and undress; put on their shoes; can they unwrap their recess and lunch and eat independently; can they keep track of their belongings?

Social emotional development – Is your child able to separate from a parent or carer; can they recognise how others might be feeling; can they play with other children, share and take turns; can they attend to an activity; say their full name and please and thank you?

Language skills – Can your child express their needs and wants effectively in words; are they speaking in complete sentences; can most other people understand their speech; can they follow 2-step directions and do they understand positional words such as ‘under’, ‘next to’?

Maths skills – Can your child count from 1-10; recognise shapes; sort items by categories such as colour or size; identify colours?

Fine Motor skills – Can your child hold a pencil correctly; use scissors to cut out shapes; trace around basic shapes or copy and draw shapes; fasten zippers and buttons?

Gross motor – Is you child able to run, jump and skip; balance on one foot; walk upstairs; bounce and catch a ball; aware of their body space and others?

At Sounds good to me we are really interested in preparing children’s early reading skills. If children have these skills they will find it easier to learn how to read when they start school

Literacy skills – early reading skills include

  • Enjoy being read to/listening to stories
  • Know how to handle a book (holds book right side up, knows where it starts & ends)
  • Recognise environmental print (familiar logos, signs and words)
  • Recognise own name in print
  • May try to write own name or other ideas by using symbols or letters
  • Can draw a picture to express an idea

Phonological (sound) awareness skills are skills children develop as they begin to understand that a words is made up of syllables and single sounds. For example cat-a-pi-llar = caterpillar or d-o-g = dog. Children who have phonological or sound awareness skills when they start school will have more success learning to read than children who don’t have these sound awareness skills.

Phonological awareness skills as children start school include:

  • Child can say the alphabet or part of the alphabet
  • Identifies some letters and some of the sounds they make, either by sound to letter or letter to sound
  • Knows whether or not 2 words rhyme, may be able to provide a 3rd rhyme for the words
  • Shows an interest in words and sounds
  • Has some awareness of first sounds of words, for example cherry starts with ‘ch’

Are you a parent or carer? Would you like to learn simple and effective ways you can help your child be ready for school?

We have created a short course for parents made up of a series of videos, each with downloadable resources and information. The video series includes;

  • Listening skills
  • Speech and language development
  • Reading with your child
  • Rhyming
  • Words and syllables
  • First sounds in words
  • Introducing letters and sounds

Sounds good to me – for parents was created by speech pathologists, covering all aspects of early literacy (language and reading) skills that you child needs before they start school.

Does this sound good to you? Learn more here. We also have courses for early educators and family daycare providers.