Getting ready to start school in 2022

School readiness program

Children’s transition into school can be a scary and stressful time for both children and their families. Our school readiness program has been designed to help families ease into this transition, by facilitating children’s social and emotional wellbeing, as well as equipping them with experience in a school-like setting, enabling children to hold an understanding of how they can become school ready! This means that children who engage in our school readiness program are more inclined to have a greater sense of security and even routine, when they transition into school, as they already understand expectations that they might need to meet; this includes social and emotional expectations, as well as classroom expectations. By scaffolding these skills in children early on, families are providing their children with the opportunity to grow and reach their full potential, not only now as they transition into school, but right up to their final years at school, and then as they transition into the larger community and workforce (crazy, but it’s true)!

Social and emotional wellbeing

Within schools, the Australian curriculum is used to support and assess children’s learning and development. More recently social and emotional wellbeing has started to play a more integral role in this curriculum, as more evidence is provided on the importance of social and emotional wellbeing in children’s lives and learning. Within the Australian curriculum, social and emotional wellbeing can mean identifying the following skills in children; children learning to understand themselves and others, managing their relationships, lives, and learning, recognising and regulating emotions, developing empathy for others, understanding relationships, establishing, and building positive relationships, making responsible decisions, working effectively in teams, handling challenging situations constructively and developing leadership skills.

Within our school readiness program, these skills are developed in numerous ways, using both intentional and child-led teaching methods, whilst also incorporating therapeutic modalities, to promote each individual child, in reaching their fullest potential. We also support the children to engage in collaborative experiences and play, providing children with opportunities to be social and develop this skill in a school-like setting.

Classroom skills

During our sessions, we also practise everyday classroom skills. Please note that children’s ability to successfully engage in and use these skills is also supported by their social and emotional wellbeing. Classroom skills can include transitions, classroom routine, unpacking and packing bags, self-care skills, engaging in group or meeting times, listening, following instructions etc. Through children engaging in these skills in our program, they can begin practising and working towards mastery of these skills, to help create a smooth transition into school, again providing children with a sense of safety and security regarding school that they may not have felt before!

As therapists and educators in creating this program it was our intention to provide each individual child, with the best possible chance of a smoother transition into school, and to provide them with the skills to reach their full potential and to live their best life now, as they grow, and far into the future. It is our hope to help take some of the pressure off families as their children transition into the next phase of their life. However, we also encourage families to remember, that the transition to school is something that children have been doing for a very long time.  It is normal for children and carers to experience a variety of emotions around this transition, excitement, anxiety, pride, fear, apprehension, and joy.  These are just some of the emotions you and your child might go through all in the space of five minutes!  By normalising these emotions and taking away some of the elements of the unknown, our school readiness program helps equip families to face this time together with greater confidence, and belief in a successful start to the school experience.

Christine Harkin
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