It’s not too late to get ready for school!
Written by one of our fabulous therapists, Alice Kettle
If your child has just started school or is looking to start school next year it is never to early or late to practice school readiness skills! Over the holidays we posted a few short videos for school readiness skills! The videos involved the following:
Eating at School: Being independent with eating is an essential skill for starting school. Have your child practice with their lunch box! Make sure they can do it on their own. What packaging can they handle? Look at velcro, zippers, clips, elastic, snap lock bags, glad wrap, aluminium foil, twist tops, pop tops, as well as squeezing and sucking.
Feel free to use the following tips and tricks when practicing:
- Role play lunch time so they know what to take out for recess and lunch and how to open their snack all by themselves.
- Colour code food for recess and lunch to support your child while they’re getting the hang of things.
- It might be an idea to pack a little something extra to share with a friend! This can support your child to build social skills in the playground.
Developing fine and gross motor skills: Fine motor skills are essential for tasks like using a pencil, cutting, opening lunch boxes and self-care. Similarly, we need gross motor skills to support everyday activities like dressing, sitting upright, playing, carrying bags and climbing stairs.
To support your child to perform everyday tasks you could play games that strengthen the muscles in our fingers and core. This could be:
- Core exercises like animal walks, star jumps, ball games and cannonball kicks.
- Using play dough
- Playing with Lego structures
- Play tap tap games
- Peeling stickers and cutting
- Using Tweezers with Mr Yum.
Taking care of myself: Can your child recognise their own belongings, open and close their school bag, take their jumper on and off, put their shoes on, and do up their buttons or zipper? In order to build these self-care skills, it is important that they practice dressing themselves in the morning or after a shower. Build their confidence by starting with easy clothes to take on and off for example, elastic pants. Challenge your child by gradually increasing the difficulty of clothing, for example buttoned pants.
Writing my name: Can your child write and identify their name? This is an essential skill for all children preparing to go to school.
To help your child identify their name:
- Use flash cards with their name or letters on it
- Play games where they have to select the letters in their name
- Label their belongings at home and at school.
It is great to use visual cues to encourage and practice name writing. This can include:
- Name writing templates
- Using green dots as starting points and red dots to let them know where to stop
- On a foggy shower screen or during bath time
- In shaving cream or rice.
Pencil grasp and control: Pencil grasp is an important part of child development, and an essential skill for life, but it can be hard work trying to control a pencil! It is important a child uses their thumb, index and middle finger to ensure a functional grasp and develop handwriting skills. This will also help prevent pain and increase legibility.
Always prompt your child to use their pinching fingers when writing and use their helping hand to stabilise the paper. If your child has difficulty holding a pencil, stickers or a pencil grip will help with positioning.
To promote using this tripod grasp early on, engage your child in fine motor activities to strengthen the muscles in their fingers. These activities can include:
- Peeling stickers
- Playing with spinning tops
- Play dough.
Most of all, have fun! It is such an exciting time.
Watch our videos here!