In three short months a whole new tribe of little ones will enter the realm of big school (eeek!). And a whole new tribe of parents will face a slew of mixed emotions, from sadness to relief, from anxiety to excitement.
But is your little one ready? And are you?
I am one of the mums in this tribe as my youngest baby (and my best friend) heads off to school five days a week. And, like most mums, the whole experience is already starting to stress me out and make me sad (like super sad, to be honest).
It feels I literally blinked.. and my baby turned five. Soon I won’t have my little girl by my side day in and day out – I’m NOT READY!!! And I’m so scared that it’s not just me who is not ready…
What if she’s not ready either?
How can you tell if your child is ready for school?
School readiness is something that NEEDS to be looked at on a case by case basis. Some parents choose to hold their child back, especially if the child is one of the youngest in the class (born February to July).
You know your child best. But, even so, it’s often hard to know if he or she is ready for school (after all, it’s been a LOOOONG time since you were a preppy!).
Below are a few things to look for:
School readiness checklist
- Communication – Can your child speak in full sentence and communicate what he or she needs? Can others understand your little one? Can he or she follow instructions and understand others?
- Coordination – Can your child unwrap a lunch, hold a pencil, draw basic shapes?
- Concentration – You cannot expect a five-year-old to be able to sit through an entire day of school without getting antsy, but can your child remain focused on a task? Can he or she transition from one activity to another?
- Independence – Can he or she get dressed, put on socks and shoes and go to the toilet unassisted? Can he or she play or do an activity independently for a certain period of time?
- Social skills – Can your little one not only play independently, but with others too? Can he or she follow the rules of a game, share and work together with classmates?
- Numeracy and literary – Can your little one hold a pencil, recognise the letters and numbers, trace with confidence and write his or her own name without help?
School readiness and Shapeeze
There are plenty of activities, games, television programs and books that can help introduce your pre-schooler to the idea of big school. But if you’re looking for something that’s educational as well as entertaining (oh… AND glitter-free), then let us introduce you to Shapeeze.
Recently my five-year-old daughter and I were asked to trial Shapeeze, scissor-free activity books that pretty much build on ALL OF THE ABOVE (and more). The books were created in consultation with qualified preschool educators, endorsed by occupational therapists and ideal for early learners.
There are two booklets – a 24 page book perfect for children three to six and a 26 page book, suitable for children four to seven. My daughter was lucky enough to test out both.
Honestly, I was blown away by the pure ease and awesomeness of this product. My daughter was engrossed in the booklets all afternoon – her concentration levels were amazing, in fact!
There are activities that foster a number of important coordination skills, from punching out shapes to gluing, from tracing letters to choosing the right colours – all those little things that will help build confidence in your little preppy.
Plus, the activities are self explanatory and the booklets come with everything you need to do each craft, ideal for independent play and learning. I could easily get dinner ready (and fold THREE loads of washing) while my daughter did her crafts.
Encouraging reading and writing through craft
The journey towards school and learning should be fun, not stressful. Often it’s not. Often it can be incredibly stressful for both us mums and our kiddies, which makes the transition even harder.
This is another reason why I really enjoyed testing out Shapeeze – the activities teach kids all sorts of school readiness skills, but without the use of standard (and sometimes boring) methods. The crafts help kids with fine motor skills, writing, oral communication, numeracy and reading, all within each activity. And they’re similar to the sorts of activities your newly-hatched school kid will tackle in class, so they help build familiarity.
The final verdict?
Honestly, the Shapeeze sets were some of my daughter’s favourite activities to come out of the craft corner. She wanted to turn each page, to see what was next, to build on what she just did. She wanted to write, to paste, to create. And she wanted to show me what she had done. Plus, the creations she made are actually worth keeping!
Watching her do the crafts with such enthusiasm, focus and confidence, was a real eye opening experience. It was so refreshing to be able to sit back and see my baby work independently and design something she is proud of.
She may not have all the school readiness skills down pat just yet, but she’ll get there. And I think it’s safe to say she will be ready to leave the nest and head off to big for school, in three months’ time.
Now, if only I could say the same thing about myself…
Shapeeze come in two sizes – the standard A3 as well as a handy A4 size which is especially great when travelling or on the go.
Pick up your own A3 set for $29.95, A4 set for $24.95, or bundle for $49.90, free postage within Australia. Or, stock up for Christmas with an exclusive Mum Central offer! Use coupon code MUMCENTRAL at checkout to receive 20% off all purchases! All components have passed stringent Australian safety testing and the products are all Aussie owned!