Tips to Prepare your Child for Starting School

Is your child ready for school? 

Learning, whether in the classroom or elsewhere, is based on a strong foundation of sensory and motor skills. These activities will support your child’s natural development, which is essential for efficient classroom learning. Not only that, but you are preparing them for lifelong learning in all its forms – social, emotional, physical as well as in the classroom.

No digital devices, no flash cards – just games and other activities using their bodies, that you can do together. 

Most importantly, remember to have fun. Research suggests that the security of close relationships in infancy and early childhood are a strong predictor of later academic success.

Here are some ideas for having fun with your children, while preparing them for school. Your children will love sharing these activities with you, while developing foundational skills for learning:

  • Balance – both static and dynamic
  • Vision
  • Listening or Auditory Processing
  • Memory
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Touch
  • Communication

1. Balance 

A well-developed sense of balance will help your child to listen and sit up straight in class, focus and pay attention,  listen, sit still and take their eyes away from the horizon to read a line of text. 

How you can Help
  • walk along a balance beam,
  • walk over rough, soft or uneven surfaces 
  • bush walks,
  • beach walks
  • roll down a hill,
  • play on swings and roundabouts

2. Vision

Good visual skills are essential for classroom learning, such as reading and writing. Your child’s eyes need to be able to work together as a team, to interpret those written symbols on the page

How you can Help
  • Name five things you can see,
  • describe the bird in that tree,
  • catch and throw a ball,
  • go outside and look into the distance
  • puzzle books
  • books with things to spot

3. Listening  (Auditory Processing)

You know your child can hear, but how well can they listen? Can they tune out background sounds and focus on the teacher’s voice?

How you can Help
  • listen to the sounds in nature, and
  • describe what you are hearing – the wind, the crackle of autumn leaves underfoot, the sea, bird song,
  • recognise the direction the sound is coming from,
  • hide a ticking clock (and find it by listening for the sound)
  • listen to a story and repeat it back

4. Memory  

Good memory is essential for learning to read, to be able to memorise those small sounds within words, and to follow instructions

How you can Help
  • card games, such as matching pairs, snap,
  • telling stories,
  • recalling the day’s activities,
  • talking about what you did yesterday

5. Gross Motor (the big muscles) 

Strong leg, arm, tummy and back muscles will help your child to sit still and focus in the classroom

How you can Help
  • Find time for lots of free play and outdoor activities,
  • climbing trees,
  • scrambling over rocks,
  • running,
  • jumping,
  • hopping,
  • skipping
  • dancing


6. Fine Motor (the smaller muscles)

These little muscles develop after the bigger muscles, and will help your child to hold a pencil and focus while moving their eyes together across a page of writing

How you can Help
  • Activities to strengthen these muscles include using scissors,
  • puzzles, especially jigsaws
  • crafts,
  • drawing,
  • clay modelling,
  • painting, drawing
  • play dough,
  • kneading bread

7. Hand-eye Coordination 

Your child’s eyes need to be able to work together and follow their hand movements in order to be able to write neatly and legibly

How you can Help
  • Consider activities where both eyes are moving together and focussed on following hand movements –
  • knitting,
  • finger knitting,
  • drawing,
  • jigsaw puzzles,
  • card games,
  • clay modelling
  • play dough

8. Touch

Our sense of touch helps us to connect with others, and also ourselves.It is an important part of forming close relationships, developing an awareness of feelings, empathy (noticing how the other person might be feeling)

How you can Help
  • explore textures with hands and feet,
  • use a blindfold and describe what you can feel
  • walk barefoot on the sand, on the grass,
  • notice how each surface feels different, 
  • use words to describe these sensations

9. Communication  

Good communication skills can help with forming friendships, bringing thoughts to words, especially in creative writing tasks, and to make meaning from written texts

How you can Help
  • start by telling stories,
  • taking turns to talk and listen,
  • asking questions,
  • playing board games, read a story and recall events together,
  • draw a picture of something you remember from the story

Remember to allow time for boredom. It’s in this space of “nothingness” that the most creative ideas are able to surface.

I help parents who are looking for answers, and for the last 15 years I have been supporting children with learning and behavioural challenges. Rather than wait until your child is struggling at school, I would prefer to help you to give them the best start.

The Next Step

If you are concerned about any parenting issues, why not give me a call? We can work together to address any your concerns, and I will help you to prepare your child for lifelong learning.

It’s never too late to help your child, but is is much easier when they are younger, before secondary issues such as poor self esteem, anxiety, anger and frustration start to creep in.

My aim is to help you to raise happy, healthy children who are able to achieve to their potential and find their place in the world. 

About Rosalind

Since 2005 I have been helping children with learning and behavioural challenges such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD and other sensory processing difficulties. I use an holistic, or whole child approach combining counselling with a development movement program, known as The Extra Lesson. This program addresses underlying immaturities in early development that are contributing to their learning and behavioural challenges. Sessions are available online and at Moruya South Head.

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