Volume 31 Issue 17 10 Jun 2022 11 Sivan 5782


Terry Aizen – Director of Kornmehl

School readiness

This is the time of the year when parents and teachers begin to think about whether the children are ready for school. One issue often raised and frequently asked is “how do you prepare my child for school?”. It is always useful to think about this issue at varying stages of young children’s development.

Here is what we often say:

Childhood is an extraordinary period in a human being’s life. All stages of our lives bring certain characteristics, limitations, and special challenges. The relationships and opportunities offered to a child at any time must be responsive to the child as he or she is now. Readiness for school translates into a child who is a capable learner, who is confident, flexible, open to possibilities, sufficiently resilient to take risks, sufficiently secure to be confident – in short, a child who goes off to school and is comfortable with challenge. The central concept when working with children in the present is that we develop relationships and promote personal development rather than teach facts.

Our aim is to support children to:

  • Become effective as contributors within our Pre-school community
  • Be valued as unique and powerful human beings
  • Engage in relationships of caring and respect
  • Be involved in positive relationships with their peers 
  • Feel a sense of belonging.

We ask parents to re-orient themselves to look at children, no matter how young, as people with certain characteristics who are growing, becoming, developing, and adding new knowledge, skills, and understandings all the time. In this way, each child in our Pre-school is being assisted to become responsible for themselves, for others and for the physical world. 

We hope that this will give you something to think about as we draw closer to our Parent Teacher Interviews. The time where we think about your child’s progress, strengths, development and readiness for school in all areas – socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. 

The following skills are important for school readiness, sensory processing and self-regulation:

Fine Motor Skills

Children need to have an established hand-dominance before starting school.

A mixed dominance at this age will impact negatively on:

  • Handwriting (letter formations, reversals)
  • Reading (scanning from left to right)
  • Left/ right discrimination
  • All bilateral skills (catching, cutting, supporting page when writing, construction toys, tying laces).

Gross Motor Skills

  • To develop bilateral integration for:
    • Crossing the midline to develop a dominant hand
    • All motor planning
    • Ball skills
    • Scissor/pencil tasks 
    • Reciprocal arm/leg movements
    • Riding a bicycle.
  • To develop balance skills in preparation for hopping, skipping, climbing, galloping and marching.
  • Examples of gross-motor activities – completing a puzzle or drawing while lying on their tummy, negotiating stairs with alternating feet, catching a ball, balancing for 5-10 seconds and playball skills.

Visual Motor Skills 

  • To develop visual motor control to be able to: trace, cut, colour in, copy and thread with accuracy.
  • To be able to copy all shapes, especially diagonal lines (/ \ x) in preparation for early letter and number formation.
  • Examples of activities: colouring in, lacing, weaving, stringing beads, peg board patterns, cutting out shapes, copying a design of three steps using cubes, joining up dots, tracing around your own hand, copying shapes or sequences.

Play/Social Skills and Self Care Skills

  • To develop confidence/self-esteem in their ability to perform or attempt all tasks.
  • To understand social cues, rules, and limitations.
  • To be able to resolve conflict and to stand up for themselves.
  • To initiate new friendships and interactions with peers.
  • To be kind and respectful to each other. 
  • To understand feelings through the Zones of Regulation and Alert Program.
  • Eating and dressing independently. 
  • For school excursions:
    • Changing for sport.
    • Examples are dressing and undressing independently, toileting independently, understanding rules of games and being able to participate in games meaningfully, taking turns and sharing. 

Cognition is important

  • To develop pre-academic skills for reading/writing
  • To organise themselves and their belongings
  • To be able to listen, sit still and follow instructions 
  • To develop visual perceptual skills (especially memory) for:
    • Spelling, reading, and writing
  •  To develop sequencing skills for:
    • Following instructions
    • Early mathematics.

Sensory processing is how we interpret incoming sensory information.
Sensory Processing Disorder is the inefficiency in our central nervous system to process incoming information or stimuli. Difficulties in processing can lead to numerous problems such as disrupted motor co-ordination, sleeping, eating, concentration, learning, behaviour, and social/emotional functioning.

Self-regulation is a person’s ability to adjust or control their energy level, emotions, behaviours and attention. 
Appropriate self-regulation means adjustment and control is conducted in socially acceptable ways.

Behaviours to look out for include:

  • Fidgeting
  • Restless/rocking in chair
  • Knocking into people/objects
  • Difficulty sitting upright during floor time
  • “On the move,” easily distracted
  • Seeking/avoiding touch
  • Wrapping legs around legs of chair
  • Hates change
  • Dislikes music time
  • Unpredictable behaviours
  • Feeling overwhelmed during outdoor play
  • Sucking on clothes or objects.

This journey is a collaborative one that starts the minute your child comes into the Pre-school and continues for their entire Pre-school journey. We look at the whole child and together with families develop each child’s goals. We look at children’s strengths and interest and observe them closely. In this way we gain a clear understanding of how best to support them through these Pre-school years. We are guided by the Early Years learning Framework (EYLF) and our curriculum is emerging and best learnt through play.