What Is Readiness?
Educators often talk about readiness, but what is meant by this term? School Readiness has been used to refer to developmental skills that a child would acquire before starting school. In today’s society, however, children are starting school at earlier and earlier ages, so the term readiness most often refers to the skills a child must master before he can learn to read and write – which typically happens in first grade or later.
People are developmental in nature, and learning begins at birth. Children crawl before they walk, make early vocalizations before they talk fluently and use scribbles and drawings as their first steps in learning to write. An important way that parents prepare children for later educational development is by interacting with them in the very early stages of a child’s life. it is important that adults talk, read, sing, and play with their children.
As you read to your child on a daily basis, you are providing her with important exposure to language. Children love being read to and may ask you to read the same book over and over again. Many children acquire early reading skills by memorizing books to which they have had repeated exposure. Your child will also greatly benefit from a literacy-rich environment at home. Surround your child with language in as many forms and as often as possible — from recipe books, notepads, food labels, environmental print to name a few. The child should be offered a large variety of books, other reading materials and supplies to encourage early attempts at reading and writing.
What Skills Does My Child Need?
In kindergarten, children are exposed to concepts and skills considered basic to later learning: recognition of colors, shapes, and sizes, directional knowledge, sorting and matching letters of the alphabet and numbers and numerals. As the child develops and progresses in school, more emphasis is given to specific literacy experiences that will help children learn to read, write, and understand basic mathematical and scientific principles.
Remember that you are your child’s first and most important teacher. One of the best things you can do to support your child’s skill development is daily reading to and with them. When you read to your child on a daily basis, you are providing your child with significant exposure to language. Children love being read to and may ask you to read the same book over and over again. Children acquire early reading skills by memorizing books to which they have had repeated exposure and find interesting while at the same time engaged and having fun.
Young children learn “wholistically” – not only cognitively, but also physically, socially, emotionally, and creatively. Socialization is a big part of the kindergarten experience as children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, share, and work together. The continued development of social and emotional skills is an important part of first grade. Young children should be exposed to a wide variety of social experiences and situations, playing and communicating with other children.
How Do I Help My Child Get Ready for Grade One?
Readiness Begins at Birth
Parents and educators want young children to begin first grade ready to learn and ready for school. Being ready is a developmental process that begins at birth. During the first few years of life, young brains are in their fastest growth period, and vital synapses are developing between neurons in the brain. Each time parents interact with their children, they promote this important “brain wiring.”
To support and help your child to develop social skills, emotional maturity and independence, language and cognitive skills and coordination during the kindergarten years we recommend that you and the caretakers of the child:
- Encourage your child to have conversations with you, ask question and provoke thinking and expressing feelings
- Read with your child as often as possible, cuddle and enjoy different books together to meaningfully promote the love of reading
- Play games with your child – board games, card games, character games, puzzles. These experiences promote emotional maturity, taking turns, sharing, team playing and patience
- Arrange play dates with other children to encourage communication, team play and new friendship. This gives your little one(s) the chance to develop their social skills – and will give them the confidence to have friends to talk to when they start school
- Encourage your little ones to dress and undress themselves and use the toilet independently.
- Encourage creativity and arts experiences through a variety of colours, textures and various materials which will assist in developing children’s fine and gross motor skills motor skills and curiosity.
- Always celebrate the children’s efforts and accomplishments.
It is important to remember that your child’s development takes place step by step and that there are vast individual differences.