School readiness is something that parents are either anxious about, unsure about or feel as though their children may be missing out on vital learning experiences when comparing to pre-school, especially those who have their eldest children starting ‘big’ school next year.
At Kid’n Around we see how much fun the children have each day, and if we could bottle this excitement, happiness and fun up… we would! We encourage all of the children here, to be children for as long as they can. When children are enjoying themselves, a fantastic and fun environment erupts, learning becomes contagious and not so much a chore or something that must be done but happens naturally.
We would love to see our children as prepared for school as they can be. Having said this, we don’t have a specific time set aside each day where we sit the children down and have them count to 100, write out the alphabet or sit down and practise putting their shoes and socks on, etc. Instead, we incorporate these skills throughout the day, so the children naturally want to learn these things and follow their peers. One of the main skills we want the children to learn when approaching primary school is their social and emotional skills. We teach them to solve problems, regulate their emotions, and be able to deal with big groups of children. Whenever there may be an altercation, we guide the children into solving the problems together, working out a solution and make a list of what to do in certain situations. You may hear them at home say ‘Stop it I don’t like it’. This may seem simple now, but they are learning a life-long skill of speaking up when they feel uncomfortable, and dealing with things themselves. When this does not work, we encourage the children to approach one of their carers to help guide them through the next steps of conflict resolution.
Instead of having a set schedule where the children are to have news, and feel pressured to think of something to talk about, we encourage the children to speak when they feel ready, when they have something new happening in their life, a new sibling, a holiday etc. If they want to tell the children, we encourage them to use this opportunity and build their public speaking skills within the classroom. When they are ready and have news to share there is no pressure of thinking up something just to talk about, they genuinely want to share their story with the children.
Throughout the day we have a general routine where the children are encouraged to do most things for themselves, again getting them ready for primary school. They are encouraged to put all of their belongings back into their bag so they do not lose their things, and do up the zipper, they put on their own hat and sun cream, after lunch and at relaxation time they are encouraged the put on their own shoes and socks. We sit with the children one on one and show them how to do this correctly. The children wash their own hands, get their own lunchboxes and are encouraged to open their own lunchbox lids and yoghurts etc. When toileting we also encourage the children to take themselves and wipe on their own, we are often there for guidance or advice. The children also learn a lot from their peers, and look up to the older Sapphires.
PRE-LITERACY & PRE-MATHS SKILLS
When the children are in Kindergarten, they will begin to learn handwriting, recognising and writing words and numbers as well as simple spelling. We have the children learn skills to be able to pick this up quickly. We understand that some children are really keen to write, they want to write their name, their friends names etc. Then there are some children who may not be interested at all. We don’t at all force these children to write, instead we watch them closely and pick up on their interests and apply this to the writing table, to encourage them to want to participate. For example; in 2016 there were some boys who were starting school in 2017 and were not at all interested in language and practising their writing skills. However they were often outside playing ‘Avengers or superheroes’ We took this information and applied it to the pre-literacy area and set it up with Avengers, photos, colouring in pictures and the names of the Avengers. The boys were drawn to this are and were so keen to colour in the pictures, draw the superheroes and write their names out, this then sparked interest for the boys to write out more words and even short sentences together. When the children are wanting to write, we sit with them and show them how to hold their pencil correctly, if we help them now we can create good habits, as opposed to breaking bad habits when they are older and in school.
Making the area fun and inviting will have the children wanting to join in and therefore learning these school readiness skills through play.
As stated in our philosophy ‘We recognise the family as the child’s first teachers and most important influence in the learning and development of young children’ we ask you to please work in conjunction with us, and help guide your children in similar ways to prepare them for school. They may attend Kid’n Around 2-3 days a week, but this means that they are at home 4-5 days a week, with huge potential to learn and grow every day. We also really strive to ‘Work in partnership with families, this ensures continuity and progression in your Childs learning.’
Having children prepared for primary school is paramount; prepared to learn, prepared to listen and prepared to grow. We want them to go off with the skills to battle Kindergarten and believe they can do it by feeling prepared and empowered by planting the seed for life -long learning whilst they are with us. By playing and exploring during the pre-school years, their little brains are like a sponge and ready to learn and discover new and exciting things. We believe in having a child in pre-school is just that ‘PRE-SCHOOL’. We expose children to elements within the kindergarten curriculum. Our qualified educators implement an early years curriculum designed to prepare children for early school years.
‘We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget he is someone today.’ – Stacia Tauscher
Prepared by Amy (Early Childhood Teacher)
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