At the beginning of every school year parents find themselves asking if their child is ready for the brand new world that is primary school. It's certainly a big step up from pre-school and not just because of the uniforms and shoe-lace tying. Formal schooling presents many new challenges to children in terms of the increased demands on their speech and language skills, as well as confronting them cognitively, socially and emotionally.
Here we have put together a list of some important indicators to help you ascertain whether your child is ready to take this important step in their little lives.
Speech and Language:
Can your child?
- Initiate and sustain conversations with adults and other children
- Speak clearly and audibly without shouting or whispering
- Maintain eye contact whilst speaking
- Answer inferential questions, eg why? what's next ?
- Describe recent experiences
- Recite rhymes and sing songs
- Retell stories
- Understand requests and seek clarification
- Carry out three part-directions in the correct order
- Listen attentively and answer questions (particularly in a group situation)
- Take turns in a conversation with peers
- Interrupt conversations appropriately
- Say all their speech sounds correctly?
Cognitive and social skills:
Can your child?
- Make an independent decision and follow through on this
- Create ideas & solutions of their own
- Move on to new activities easily
- Separate well from their carer
- Naturally show interest in other kids
- Interact easily with other children
- Recognise and express their feelings and needs
- Concentrate on a task
- Easily deal with frustration
- Name 6 geometric shapes
- Sort and classify objects (eg by colour, function, size etc)
- Describe concepts eg. big/small, more/less, same/different, in front/behind, under/over, actions etc
- Count objects with 10 or more in the group
If, after completing this School Readiness Checklist, you have concerns for your child's development or questions about his / her school readiness, seek professional advice from your child's teacher or a paediatric speech pathologist.