Starting school is an exciting time for you and your child, and learning will be much easier if they are developmentally ready. Time spent building strong foundations of sensory and motor skills in your child’s early years will pay dividends later on.
Learning, whether in the classroom, or elsewhere, is based on our ability to take in and process information through our senses. This learning is supported by a strong foundation of sensory motor development and integration. These skills are built during your child’s first seven years, preparing them for lifelong learning.
Screening for School Readiness
Learning happens when we are relaxed and able to take in and process new sensory information.
Screening for school readiness before your child starts school helps to identify immaturities in their early development, known as developmental delay. Addressing these gaps will help your child to have the best start, and can help prevent other problems from developing later on. Part of school readiness is being able to communicate and form a connection with other people.
Children who struggle in the classroom often show signs of anxiety, becoming easily overwhelmed. Feeling threatened, their nervous system flips into an instinctive survival mode. When this happens, learning becomes very difficult as they struggle to focus and pay attention.
Learning to read is a complex process, that is supported by a good foundation of early stages of development. Your child needs to be able to sit still, maintain balance, move their eyes across the page, and listen all at once. Learning is so much easier when your child is developmentally ready.
Well-developed auditory or listening skills help your child to block out the background sounds, and focus on the teachers voice. It also helps them to interpret the sounds connected to the written symbols on the page.
Reading requires that both eyes can move together smoothly across a page of writing. They also need to be able to converge, and focus on a single point on the page. Then your child needs to be able to decode these shapes into sounds and words, and make meaning them.
Children who struggle with learning to read are often described as being dyslexic. Screening for developmental delay invariably reveals gaps in early development.
The First Seven Years
Reading readiness does not come from computer programs or workbooks. It comes from being given time to grow and develop naturally, from childhood experiences rich in sensation and movement. This happens naturally through play and lots of outdoor physical activity, as well as supportive relationships with parents and carers.
Time spent playing with your child and snuggling together to share stories are an important of your child’s early development. It is through listening to stories that your child learns language and how to make meaning from speech. They also learn to recognise changes in vocal intonation, and how this can represent different emotions.
Your child also needs time to run, jump, ride bikes, swim, climb trees, to develop coordinated motor skills. Craft activities will help build those fine motor skills necessary for handwriting.
Rhyming and clapping games are fun and are another way to prepare your child for the classroom. They are building memory, and motor coordination, while having fun.
All of these activities build new neural pathways in your child’s brain, helping them to process new sensory information. This gives them the strongest foundation for learning.
The Good News
The good news as that these gaps can be addressed through an individualised 1:1 developmental exercise program. Working together, we can help your child to fill in any gaps in their early stages of development. This has the potential to bring about significant change, as evidenced by testimonials and case studies.
A simple screening for developmental readiness for school can help your child to have the best possible start to their school career.