Sending your child off to the big school for the first time can be daunting, so it’s perfectly normal for him or her (and even you) to feel anxious. As a parent, you want to be sure that your child is prepared to adapt to a classroom and school environment, acquire new friends, and be able to communicate their wants and needs to their teacher when they need assistance.
However, when it comes to specific knowledge and skills, there are several things your child is expected to have before beginning school. According to research, children who are well-prepared for their first year at school can adjust better and succeed easier, giving them an advantage for later years.
Your child’s school can provide you with a set of things your child is expected to know before starting. Here are just some of the most common things you can teach your child before his first time at school.
Listening and following simple instructions. Most children by the time they start school need to be able to listen and follow two to three different instructions. You can help train your child by giving him daily tasks around the house, like making the bed, putting away their toys or setting the table for dinner. Use multiple simple instructions like, “Make up your bed and put your toys away.” As well as three-part instructions like, “Put the mats, utensils and plates onto the table.”
Communicating their needs. Children need to clearly communicate their needs, especially to their teachers. Encourage and train your child to speak in complete sentences or start with five to six words, such as “I need a bathroom break, please.” or “I can’t understand this word.” Moreover, train them to explain how they are feeling: “I am thirsty.” “My head hurts”. “I would like to go outside.”
Dressing and feeding themselves. Your child needs to start learning how to manage their own clothes (e.g. buttons and zippers). You also need to teach them how to open a juice container and unwrap their food. It’s also at this age that you can teach them how to tie their shoes, though many won’t get the hang of it until later. Help them when dressing themselves each morning until they can do it themselves. This includes buttoning shirts, zipping pants putting on socks and taking off other articles of clothing. Your child should also know how to open food packaging and follow-up with a positive compliment.
Sharing toys and taking turns. One major part of starting school is getting along well with other students, finishing a task or project with a team as well as treating others with equal respect. You can teach your child to play with other people by playing board games at home to assist the child in becoming familiar with turn taking. You can also encourage him or her to work on projects and tasks together at home if you have more than one child.
Have you already enrolled your child in a school? If you’re yet to choose, then consider early childhood education in an international school. While most schools in Singapore utilize advanced curriculum and learning techniques, international schools like One Word International School (OWIS) takes it a notch higher by offering child-friendly yet results-driven schoolwork that focuses on every child’s unique learning style from the age of 3. OWIS follows the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), a curriculum framework created for students aged 3 to 12 years.
That’s it. Remember, you are your child’s best judge of character so remember to supplement this article with what your child should develop before starting school. Best of luck!