Your child is about to enter one of the most important parts of their lives... "School"! All children from the age of 5 (depending on your state and school requirements throughout Australia) begin school. It's an exciting time for both you and your child as you enter a new phase in life. For most parents the transition to school can be a little difficult and sad as they watch their little child enter a whole new world.
Is My Child Ready For School?
Depending on where you live in Australia, most children begin school at 5 years of age. There are not any specific prerequisites required when your child starts school (this really depends on the school and their enrolment process that you are sending your child to). However preparing your child for school will make the transition process a lot easier.
How Do I Prepare My Child For School?
- If you are sending your child to daycare / preschool the teacher will already be preparing your child for school. The centre or preschool will have a school readiness program implemented throughout the year to get your child ready for school. The school readiness program focuses on creating a smoother transition to school by teaching and focusing on basic skills that your child will need during school.
- If your child doesn't go to a daycare or preschool...please don't panic (I didn't go to daycare / preschool before I started school and I turned out fine). There are some parents that prefer to spend the last year (before school start) with their child, which is a perfectly normal thing to do.
- During this time however you can do activities that will focus on the basic skills your child will need. There are an endless amount of workbooks on letters, numbers, differences, opposites (and many more!) that you can purchase for your child or check out our Printable page for activity ideas.
- The activities in these workbooks will encourage your child to understand concepts they will be taught at school. You can also go to play groups which provides opportunities for your preschooler to socialize with other children before starting school, so there will be plenty of opportunities that will enable your child to learn the basic skills.
- When you have enrolled your child into a school, it's good to go with your child on tours and morning sessions held at the school. This will help your child become familiar with the teacher, new children in the class, the class room environment and when the time comes to start school your child will be able to handle it.
Skills Required Before Starting School
Here is a simple list of basic skills that could benefit your child when starting to school (this is not a developmental checklist). Please remember to use as a general guideline only.
- Prints name (it doesn't have to be clear).
- Recognizes name in words.
- Cuts with scissors correctly.
- Dresses and undresses self unaided.
- Handles toileting by self.
- Begins to recognize letters.
- Can hold a pencil correctly.
- Knows left from right.
- Listens and understands instructions.
- Follows rules.
- Can open a lunch box (make sure you teach your child ho to open it).
- Able to tie shoelaces (if not buy buckle shoes instead).
- Recognizes and takes care of personal belongings.
- Socializes with other children.
- Begins to recognize numbers.
Public School Or Private School
This is completely up to you to determine whether your child goes to a public school or a private one. When you are choosing a school for your child it's probably best to look for one in your local area, so it's closer to home (it will make it a lot easier for you). Also don't be afraid to look at more than one school. Ring around your local area and book a tour of the schools you are considering. When you find one that you feel will provide a great educational experience for your child then it's time to enrol your child. Trust your instincts!
Public schools offer free enrolment for Australian citizens, while private schools charge larger fees. However in addition to attendance fees, stationary, textbooks, uniforms and school camps all add to the costs. Public school fees cost on average $320 per year while private schools are obviously more expensive.
Regardless of whether a school is public or private, they are required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks of their state or territory. So whether you are sending your child to a public or private school, in the end they are all taught the same subject content only the teaching method will differ.
I hope this article provides you with some helpful information on getting your child ready to start school. I wish you all the best of luck as your family begins the journey towards starting school. Remember to take lots of photos on your child's first day of school...Don’t forget the tissues!