Find out about your daycare or preschool’s school readiness program.
Every centre has a different philosophy, but it will be geared up to support your child’s development prior to attending school. Work out what your child needs from a school readiness program and how your child can be challenged.
Listen to what daycare or preschool tell you
Early childhood educators have a wealth of experience and have seen many children of all ages and stages leave their setting to go to school. They understand the capabilities of your child. Listen to what they have to say and their recommendations.
Speak to “big school”
Check out their open day and speak to the teachers. Take a tour with your child to see what school life is like. If there is no upcoming open day, make an appointment with the principal or kindergarten teacher for a tour. They usually pay particular attention to the youngest students during orientation visits and can give you feedback on how your child coped.
What will life be like in Year 7?
Many people think about the present, whether their child is ready now for school, but don’t often consider the other end of the spectrum. Starting school at 4 means your child will be 11 years old when they go to high school and could be attending with 13-year olds. It’s worth thinking about the differences between those two years, as well as when they finish school, who is closer to legal drinking age(!)
I’m worried my child will be bored with another year of daycare
Such a valid concern, especially for those children who seem ready to go now. Or even those who will be watching friends going to “big school” next year. The Early Years Learning Framework, the curriculum used at every daycare and preschool, lends itself to play based learning. It can be spontaneous as well as planning intentional teaching activities.
The educators use this to to support your child’s learning and development as they get closer to going to school; so, there is no opportunity to get bored.
Another way to challenge your child is by enrolling them in activities outside of daycare. Drama, martial arts, dance and sports are great confidence boosters and give them an additional opportunity to practice their social and emotional skills.
This is your decision. Whenever you choose to send them to school, support them. It’s such a big transition and can evoke some big emotions, perhaps even some out of character behaviour as they manage their emotions and anxieties.
And don’t forget that box of tissues on the first day of term (for you!)
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