23 Feb Spotlight On: Getting Ready for Big School in 2022
We know it seems crazy – we’ve just started 2021, and here we are talking about kids starting school in 2022???? It may seem a long way away, but 2022 will be here before you know it! Trust us – a little bit of planning now can save parents heaps of stress later.
Here are some FAQs from our Clinical Director, Kristin, to help you navigate small group learning and school readiness in the year before ‘big school’ starts.
Why should parents who are accessing 1:1 therapy for their child consider introducing small group learning in the preschool years?
1:1 therapy is very effective at targeting certain skills. However, the skills that are most important to being ready for school just can’t be taught as effectively in a 1:1 setting. These are skills such as:
- focusing and attending with other peers around
- following the plan of the group
- collaborating, negotiating and cooperating with others
It’s important to work in both types of settings, and indeed, at TMB, we see the best outcomes for our clients who receive both 1:1 therapy support and support in the small/large group setting.
Why might you recommend a smaller group setting as compared to larger groups such as preschools or daycare?
Both are super important to growth and development!
But, it is a BIG jump for little ones to go from learning at home with one caregiver at a time who attends to their every need to learning in an environment where kids far outnumber grown-ups. Some children have not yet developed necessary skills like waiting, independent and cooperative play or transitioning between activities to be successful in the larger group environment.
Smaller groups function as a bridge between the 1:1 setting and the larger group setting. In smaller groups, children receive enough support to effectively practice critical skills, but they are learning in a setting that is more similar to the group learning settings that are our ultimate goal.
Let’s talk school readiness. I am a parent of a child who is starting school in 2022. What skills should I be focusing on now at the beginning of 2021?
The best time to start school readiness is now. We often get parents who contact us a few weeks before their kids starts school for school readiness programs. It takes time to really develop these skills and the sooner you start the better!
I beg you – please put down the flashcards!!!
Don’t focus too much on numbers and letters.
Can’t write their name? Don’t despair – that’s what school is for!
Everything your child needs to know for kindergarten can (and should) be taught in a fun and playful way in the preschool years!
Here are our top 5 ideas for things you can do at home:
1) Listening skills. Some children are good at following instructions that are directed at them but struggle with instructions directed at a group, which could make it harder for them in a classroom setting. So get a few siblings, cousins, friends together and play Simon Says or What’s the Time Mr Wolf. Do a group cooking class with the other children in the family.
2) Books, books, books. Read to them and read in front of them! Instil a love of books now, which will provide a foundation for them to develop strong literacy skills later.
3) Completing short, fun activities, start to finish. Remember- there’s usually on
ly one adult and at least 20 children in a typical kindergarten classroom! Teachers simply do not have the time and/or resources to help your child to do these sorts of things all the time! Practicing at home can help them learn perseverance and develop attention. Pick a simple craft activity or give them a play dough model to copy.
4) Moving from one activity to another. How does your child transition between preferred and less preferred activities? Do they get very upset? Is it difficult to ‘bring them around’? School is a busy place and requires lots of changing between activities. If this is tricky for your child, it is well worth working on this before school starts.
5) Finally, think about practicing skills like:
- opening snack and lunch containers
- zipping bags
- hanging up bags and jumpers
- pulling on/off jumpers/art smock
- washing and drying hands
These skills are so important to independence and to being ready for big school.
If you feel your child could use help with any of the skills above, you don’t need to go it alone! Come for a trial of our Mission Launchpad school readiness club, which takes place on Wednesdays, 9:30-12 pm during term time to see if you think we can help.
We also offer an ‘intensive’ version of the Mission Launchpad school readiness program during school holidays, Monday-Thursday 9:30-12 pm.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book in for a FREE screening session to see if it’s right for your child.