How Children Develop School Readiness
Understanding themselves and their world
The first day of school is a huge moment for families. From excitement to nerves and a bit of emotion, as little ones grow up, it’s a big milestone, and you want them to be ready.
But how do you know if your child is truly ready for school? It’s a question we’re often asked, and it’s only natural to ask because you want them to get the most out of school to prepare them for life.
Our specialist two-year kindergarten and preschool programs support children through the crucial years of ages 3 to 5. During those years, children start to learn to read and write, but they also develop vital skills like making friends, feeling confident, and learning to express themselves. In the program’s first year, we support three and four-year-olds to become curious, confident, independent, and resilient learners. We focus on teaching them the basic skills they need to read, write, and understand numbers.
In their second year, when they’re four and five years old, we continue to build on these skills. We aim to ensure they have a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Throughout the program, children and guided by University-qualified early childhood Teachers, some of the best in the country. At every step of the program, we link learning experiences to the five outcomes in the Early Years Framework.
This guide covers how children understand themselves and their world, which are outcome 1, Children have a strong sense of identity, and outcome 2, Children are connected with and contribute to their world, of the Early Years Learning Framework.
But what does that look like each day? It looks like being a friend, being themselves, belonging to a group, and becoming a collaborator.
What it means: A child’s identity is shaped by their understanding of who they are, how they belong and how they contribute to their world. As children grow in confidence, they begin to take considered risks when making decisions and become better able to cope with the unexpected.
What to look for
They recognise that their body, mind, and emotions belong to them. They show understanding and greater control over complex emotions, such as frustration. They enjoy expressing their ideas and creativity through various means like play, drawing, and talking. They have preferences for favourite songs, stories, food, and friends, which contribute to their sense of self. During focused play, the child may talk to themselves to guide their actions and make decisions. They find joy in being independent and taking on tasks and responsibilities on their own.
Tip: Encourage your child to solve problems and to keep going when things are challenging
Being a Friend
What it means: Children actively seek to interact with others more often to make special friendships and participate in collaborative play.
What to look for
They enjoy playing with other children, both in small and larger groups. They may develop a preference for specific friends, forming closer bonds with them. The child actively shares, smiles, and cooperates with friends, fostering a positive and inclusive atmosphere. They engage in pretend play, using their imagination to explore different roles and relationships within the group. The child shows curiosity and a desire to learn by asking questions and collaborating with their friends during various activities and learning experiences.
Tip: Talk about what being a ‘good friend’ means with your child – when you help someone, when you comfort someone, or when you understand that other children may have a different opinion, and that’s normal.
Belonging to a Group
What it means: Preschool and kindergarten children are developing a strong sense of identity within their learning group. This “rehearsal” time is essential practice for the even larger groupings they will experience in their classroom at school.
What to look for
A child with a strong sense of identity in a group enjoys being part of their family and friends and likes to contribute to the group. They show interest in understanding other people’s viewpoints and opinions. The child becomes more cooperative and collaborative, willing to work together with others. They engage in long conversations, showing the ability to stay focused and involved. The child shows curiosity and eagerness to participate in community activities.
Tip: Discuss community roles such as doctor, dentist, teacher and more with one another.
Becoming a Collaborator
What it means: Collaborating is important as it means children learn to consider others’ perspectives, listen, contribute ideas, solve problems and learn from others.
What to look for
A child who is developing strong social interactions increasingly shares and cooperates with others. They enjoy participating in decision-making and actively contributing to group goals. The child is better able to verbally express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, enhancing their communication skills with others. They exhibit an increased attention span and improved concentration, allowing them to engage more effectively in group activities. In some instances, the child may even take on a leadership role, demonstrating their growing confidence and influence within the group.
Tip: Ask your child for help to do “tricky” things. For example, “I’m not sure how to fit this in the cupboards – can you help me?”
Keep an eye out for the next part of this series where we look at how children become effective communicators.
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