Transitioning from Kindergarten to School
Each child is a unique person with individual differences and differing rates of development.
When a child reaches “school age”, he or she may not be ready to cope with the school environment even though the child may be able to recognise and write their name, count, and recite the alphabet. Readiness for school depends on the child’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual maturity. Parents play a vital role in the child’s development in these areas at home.
A child needs to feel good about himself and by the time, a child reaches school his self-concept is quite well developed.
Education of your child is a partnership between home and school.
The following discussion outlines some of the important readiness areas and how you may develop these at home.
Skills children need at school
- Physical: Use and control of the body
- Social: Getting along with others
- Emotional: Concerned with feelings
- Intellectual: Concerned with knowledge and learning
There are various health factors that contribute to a successful school life.
Good eyesight is important for school activities.
Observe your child for sight difficulties, which MAY indicate the possibility of an eye condition or visual disability.
- turned eye or eye drifting in or out.
- frequent blinking or screwing up of eyes or child complains of not seeing clearly at a distance.
- child covers one eye when drawing or looking at books
- child tilts head to an abnormal position when looking at books.
- red eyes
- frequent watering of eyes or light sensitivity.
- child complains of headaches, blurred vision, burning or itching of eyes when looking closely at things.
Poor or fluctuating hearing can confuse a child.
Observe your child for POSSIBLE hearing difficulties.
- inattention, daydreaming, abnormal behaviour including aggressiveness, shyness or withdrawal.
- difficulty in using or understanding spoken language eg: frequent need for repetition or mistakes in carrying out instructions.
- abnormal speech articulation or quality.
- turning of the head to one side.
- lip reading – watch for child appearing not to hear unless in a face-to-face situation.
Poor speech makes it difficult for the teacher and other children to understand children’s needs. Parents can help this development in the relaxed home atmosphere by modelling correct speech.
A child who gets very tired or who feels unwell, finds it hard to concentrate and will not enjoy school.
The following skills need to be developed independently of an adult:
- nose blowing
Gross and Fine Motor Skills
The development of large muscles is very important for writing and drawing activities at school:
- Eye-hand co-ordination – ability to direct your hand with your eye eg. Catching a ball, writing,
drawing, painting and pouring water.
- Basic movements – walking, running, jumping, hopping and skipping will be carried out at school.
Children need to develop these by having the opportunity to play freely. (See additional information on Pre-Writing Skills).
Learning how to relate to adults outside the family can be encouraged by:
- Inviting visitors with children
- Allowing your child to play at other children’s homes without you present
- Allowing other adults to mind your child.
Learning to relate to other children can be enhanced by:
- Taking turns, sharing, co-operating with other children
- Developing strategies to cope with other children’s demands etc…
- Parents should remember to praise children for their efforts
- Asking adults to play games with your child
The child needs to be provided with numerous experiences of seeing, hearing, and doing.
He can then talk about these experiences. The knowledge and language which the child develops is the basis upon which future learning will take place.
- Allow your child to experiment with safe materials at home in play activities, go on trips,
look at pictures, read stories, tell stories, allow him to be imaginative.
- Listen to your child and talk with him, answer his questions as this is how children develop
knowledge, and begin to reason and think for themselves.
You can prepare your child for future reading by:
- Drawing attention to print around us, eg: signs, labels
- Finding a special time for your child to sit and read stories to develop his enjoyment of all
types of literature – fiction and non-fiction
- Being a model yourself and reading books, (see additional information on pre-reading)
Don’t do sums with your child. This may confuse him when he gets to school. Before a child can work with numbers this way, he must understand the ideas behind them, not just learn them in rote fashion. There are many activities you can do at home – (see additional information on pre-maths activities).
Separation from parents (usually mother) needs to be comfortable.
- to avoid difficulties and the child worrying be POSITIVE about the benefits of school eg: friends, learning new things.
- tell them you are going to leave but you will be back at home time – child learns you keep that promise.
Inappropriate behaviour is unacceptable at school eg: temper tantrums when he cannot get his own way, or when he isn’t responded to.
- don’t give in to tantrums and let the child have his own way for ‘peace and quiet’
- child must learn to wait while a parent finishes what they are doing before attending to him
- don’t allow your child to interrupt when you are speaking or talk over the top of you.
Your child needs to feel she is successful then she will try new challenges that school may bring.
- encourage your child to tackle tasks of gradually increasing difficulty and praise your child for succeeding.
- A child needs to take responsibility for his belongs and tidy up after himself
- Train your child to organise himself, eg: tidy his room, put clean clothes away, put out soiled clothes, make the bed, pack away the toys when finished, if he spills things – he cleans up.
The child who does not need direction to occupy himself can attempt much more, consequently learning more.
- allow your child to do things on their own, stand back and let her have a go. Give her small tasks then increase them, eg. Collect the mail, go to neighbour to give them something.
The child needs to be able to complete a task. At school, new learning tasks are often dependent upon completing the previous one.
- help your child to cope with difficult tasks – give her strategies, eg. “Maybe you could try this way……” then let her complete the task, helping her to see the value of persistence.
Pre -Writing Skills
How can I help my child at home?
Gross Motor Development
- Your child needs to be allowed to move freely and safely at home, walking, running, climbing, riding, bicycle, throwing and catching balls, bouncing and kicking balls.
- Take your child to playgrounds to play on equipment
Fine Motor Development
- Allow your child to play with constructive and manipulative equipment involving the use of
- Allow your child to draw, cut out pictures, cut around a border or shape, paste, tear paper,
paint, finger paint, use play dough, hammer. (this is sometimes an advantage
kindergarten children have).
- Watch the way your child holds pencils/textas, and encourage her to hold them correctly
as illustrated. Once a child has got into an incorrect habit it is often difficult to change
- If your child wants to write her name, teach her to write it the correct way, as illustrated.
Helping your child with reading
It is not only important to read books to a child in the pre-school years, but also to discuss the stories with him. Discussion is an important factor in the growth of vocabulary.
Reading and listening to stories will be a more meaningful activity if the child sees his parents read for pleasure and information. Of course, he should have the opportunity to accompany his parents to the library and select picture storybooks.
Parents should speak clearly and carefully so that children will hear words enunciated and parents should be good listeners when the child has something to say.
Giving the child many experiences through which he may learn new words and ideas, and talking about the experiences afterwards, will stimulate his language development.
Playing word games with your child will develop vocabulary and attention to sounds. Learning to discriminate sounds is the first step towards recognising letter sound relationships. There are numerous sources of sounds that are immediately available to your child, for example:
- answering the telephone helps your child to discriminate voices and listen carefully to messages
- guessing games, perhaps with the imitation of sounds: animal noises, brushing, knocking, ticking, etc., encourages awareness of sounds
- listening for a specific piece of information such as a weather report on the radio will help his ability to attend to sounds
- go on listening walks and notice quiet sounds, rustling, purring, the wind and loud noises such as honking horns, sirens, and voices calling.
Listening to music and perhaps identifying familiar instrument sounds will help to develop a sense of rhythm and sound. Listening to high and low, notes and singing are enjoyable and useful games. Children also enjoy nursery rhymes and poems with refrains that encourage them to join.
To develop vocabulary and attention to sounds, play games such as “I spy with my little eye”, “Tell me the missing words – Hickory Dickory Dock, The Mouse ran up the ………”, and, “How many (eg. Animals, vegetables, shops) can you think of?”
If your child notices words and letters, on labels for instance, and asks about them, identify them for him, use sound rather than letter names.
It is useful if a parent connects books to other activities – a holiday, an outing, something seen on the television, or a hobby, and share the book with the child. Children should learn to see that books are useful in many circumstances.
Even when your child can read a little by himself, it is important to continue to read interesting books to him. Story time can remain an important time of day right through childhood. At Glen Park Primary children will start reading and taking home readers from day one.
Helping your child with Maths
Parents need to always speak positively about maths. Don’t use comments such as “Well, I was never any good at Maths”.
In our daily lives, we are constantly using maths to solve our problems to make sense of the world. For example:
- the child who wants to watch a favourite television program soon learns to tell the time
- the child, who wants to save her pocket money to buy the latest toy, quickly learns about budgeting.
- the child who is expected to set the table at teatime soon learns ways of calculating the amount of cutlery needed.
Children learn about maths naturally when we give them the responsibility for working things out for themselves and when we expect them to come up with answers.
Some activities you can do with your child
Give your child responsibility for as many tasks as you can.
Ask your child:
- To select/help make her lunch
- To pack her own lunch
- Set the table
- To buy birthday presents for friends/family
- To check the weather – select appropriate clothing
- To help plan birthdays, eg. invitations, games, etc…
Other activities : Holiday Time:
- Count the days
- How many days will we be away?
- How many days/hours will it take us to get there?
- What clothes will we take?
Play counting games with your child – dice games, snakes and ladders, etc.
Focus on significant numbers in their lives:
- birth dates
- house numbers
- telephone numbers
- give your children the responsibility for solving their problems
- expect your children to be successful with maths
- most of all, be positive and enthusiastic about maths
Before School Starts
- Talk about school positively
- Familiarise your child with the school he will be attending, where you will bring him and pick him up. Take your child on a tour inside the school, all schools offer this facility.
- Walk past a school during a playtime/lunchtime to enable your child to learn the noise level in the playground.
- Label clothes and possessions and show him his name
- Talk about length of school day, play lunch, play times and lunch. What he will eat each time?
- Make sure he can open a lunch box, open gladwrap, pack and unpack a school bag
- Practise putting on/taking off windcheater, smock etc.
- To help you be confident that you are selecting the right school for your child take the time to visit the school, or schools, you are considering. Make an appointment. This will ensure the teacher or the Principal will be able to deal with your queries without interruptions.
- Once you have decided on a school, you will need to complete an enrolment form and present your child’s immunisation certificate and birth certificate. If you hold a current Health Care Card, the school will also need to see this.
MULTI AGE CLASSROOMS
A multi age classroom is where students from Prep to Year 6 share the same classroom.
Research indicates that children in their first years of schooling are exposed to more learning opportunities in a multi age grouping.
This is because : –
- Multi age groupings model the family group in which the initial learning takes place eg: parents and older sibling
- Younger children quickly adopt the independent work habits, skills and practises of older ones
- Staying with a familiar group for a number of years develops closer relationships among the group. In this secure environment children are more likely to take risks and experiment in their learning
- Multi aging leads to accepting differences and taking advantage of opportunities for children to work at their own level
- It provides greater potential for developing leadership qualities, independence, mutual support and co-operative approaches to learning
- Multi age groupings encourage developmental learning
As Glen Park is a one-teacher school, all children are taught in a multi-age classroom (Prep-6 children)
Feel free to call in and visit us at Glen Park if you are considering a small school education for your child.