Is your child ready for school?

“Readiness” is usually a minor matter to parents who both work and are able to extend working hours once the preschooler reaches school age. But how ready is the youngster? Has enough been done to make that transition easier? 

The following (exhaustive!) list could have eager parents patting themselves on the back; it could have them racking their brains as to how to fill in apparent gaps before the relevant birthday; or it could be a case of hoping the school experience will mean it all ‘rubs off’ on the child (as indeed a lot of it will do).

If you’re one of those parents who have been systematic you may be able to tick off each of these readiness indicators, meaning that school tasks will be logical  and unthreatening. Can your child (I will say ‘his’):

say his own name ~ write his first name ~ write his surname ~ recognize the starting letter of his name ~ state his parents’ names ~ give his address ~ speak in complete sentences ~ speak clearly ~ formulate sentences well ~ match identical pictures ~ match identical shapes ~ match a picture with its silhouette ~ identify everyday items in a picture ~ name items in a picture ~ describe what is happening in a picture ~ relate a sequence of events shown in a story-strip ~ recite the number sequence 1 to 10 ~ adapt to rules of games ~ identify domestic animals ~ name domestic animals ~ identify zoo animals ~ name zoo animals ~ use crayons ~ trace around shapes ~ use scissors ~ cut around shapes…

Does your child know:

half the alphabet ~ the full alphabet ~ left hand from right hand ~ where a book begins ~ where a book ends ~ primary colours (red, blue, yellow) ~ other colours ~ how to compare dark and light colours ~ some nursery rhymes, simple action poems to recite (with or without movements)…

Has your child got “one-to-one correspondence”? If so, he’ll be able to point to a photo and match his gestures as he says “This is Dad…this is Mum… here is our dog… there is Nana at the back…” etc. He’ll maybe also be able to take a small group of items and count them out, shifting or pointing to one at a time as he counts up to 5.

Can your child…

match pictures of animal mothers and babies ~ recognize and respond to rhyme ~ retain interest in a story ~ explain what ‘growing up’ means ~ identify circle, square and triangle ~ describe a circle as ’round’ ~ reproduce drawn patterns ~ use coloured blocks to reproduce colour/shape sequences of 2 items, given 2 repeats ~ reproduce sequences of 3 items.

Regarding parts of the body, can your child identify…

head, arms, legs ~ eyes, mouth, nose ~ ears, hair, fingers ~ feet, toes, neck ~ thumb, chin, shoulders ~ elbow, heel, ankle ~ wrist, knees, hips ~ chest, waist, eyebrows ~ knuckles, lips, jaw.

In his speech, can your child pronounce clearly the sounds…

p ~ b ~ m ~ sh ~ j ~ ch ~ r ~ y ~ th.  Can he repeat somewhat complex words correctly, such as ‘spaghetti’, ‘elephant’? This latter can be a fun game if you make up some nonsense words instead!

Does your child respond to positional and comparative words…

in, on, underneath ~ above, on top, below ~ middle, between ~ behind, in front ~ bigger, biggest ~ smaller, smallest ~ lower, higher.

When he draws a self-portrait, does it have distinguishable features, perhaps even a high degree of differentiation?

Then of course there are everyday manners (such as Please, Thankyou), the ability to share resources, and a sense of ownership “mine, yours, his, hers, Mum’s” etc.

Please do add in the COMMENTS any others you think are necessary for a good start at school. I’m sure that as soon as I push the PUBLISH button I’ll think of some more. Then again, there will be some items on this list that many will be unable to ensure, and that the socializing process of school life will address. So perhaps this list should also be reassessed after a few months at school?


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