School Readiness

The following information is taken from Early Life Foundations Fact Sheet: School Readiness by Shona Bass and Kathy Walker

At Beechworth Primary School we know that you know your child better than anyone. Our role is to offer you support and advice in relation to school readiness. International research emphasises that certain areas of development and maturity are essential for children so that once at school, they are able to maximise the opportunities provided.

Social and emotional areas are the key areas of development that are the most important for a child in regard to school readiness. The key areas of social and emotional maturity related to school readiness can be summarised by reviewing these questions.

At Kindergarten does your child:

  1. Separate easily from parent/carer at Kinder drop-off
  2. Independently make a decision of where they are going to work/play
  3. Self-initiate, engage and sustain engagement (6-8 minutes), have the skills to solve basic problems and ask for help from the educator if needed
  4. Work and play beside other children
  5. Have basic independence skills (able to put shoes and socks on, art smock on, jumper on when the sleeves are inside out, toileting independently)
  6. Sit with the group (eg. mat time) and remain focused, ask questions and answer questions from the educator
  7. Self-regulate their emotional responses when they need to do something they don’t want to (eg. don’t tantrum when it is time to pack up)

Making an informed decision about your child and school readiness is paramount to giving children the opportunity to thrive and flourish…not just cope. Ask yourself, “Am I in a rush to send my child to school?” Schooling is about the quality of the journey and helping your child feel good about themselves and their learning along the way.

Other points to consider are:

  • Being legally old enough to begin school does not mean the child will be ready and does not mean the child must start at that time.
  • Young boys, according to some research, may benefit from having an additional year to mature before commencement.
  • Multiple births or children significantly premature may also benefit.
  • Victoria has one of the youngest age entries to school in the world!
  • There is no detrimental impact of giving a child an additional year before they come to school, in fact it is often viewed as a bonus year.
  • Don’t assume children will magically ‘catch up’ once they start school. In the majority of cases, they don’t, and in fact the problems in maturity usually become more pronounced.
  • Don’t send a child to school already thinking they can repeat Prep if they have to. We want the first year of school to be exciting, successful and not just one where the child attempts to ‘cope’ and then has to do it all again.
  • Readiness for school or kindergarten is about having the maturity to make the most of these early years.
  • For further information see the book, ‘Ready, Set, Go’ by Kathy Walker which has a number of chapters related to readiness, preparation and choice of school or speak to your local Kindergarten teacher.