Educational Psychologists share tips on how to help your child be better prepared for school.
Age is not the only factor that is used to gauge if a child is ready for school. Although most kids will be ready to start school by age 6 or 7, some children might not be.
Children are required to do a school readiness assessment. This assessment is done to determine what the child’s IQ is and to measure the child’s intellectual or mental age.
Children are deemed to be intellectually school-ready if they score a mental age of 6 years 3 months on standardised school readiness assessments.
Educational Psychologist Stacey Cohen of Buddingminds says there are a number of things that are considered to determine whether a child is ready for school.
“When doing a school readiness assessment, there are a number of factors that are looked at to determine if a child is school ready. I look at how a child is functioning emotionally, cognitively, Neurodevelopmentally, and scholastically,” says Stacey.
She adds that “formal School assessments (Based on the Aptitude Test for School Beginners) will look at factors such as: visual perception , spatial orientation and the ability to visualize, reasoning (concept formation, logical thinking and the ability to classify), numerical (ability to count, grasp of quantities, proportions and numbers),
gestalt (refers to physical structures, to physiological and psychological functions), co-ordination, memory and verbal comprehension.”
In the case where a child fails the school readiness assessment test, he or she will be forced to either repeat their Grade R year or enroll into a Grade R in order to use the year to gain the essential skills needed for Grade 1.
The good news is that there are simple and practical things parents can do to help their child who is not school ready.
Educational Psychologists Stacey Cohen and Avika Daya share five activities that parents can do to help their child better their chances of being school ready.
– Have conversations and constantly talk to children to promote language development (increase exposure to language).
– Play stimulating games in the car to keep them engaged and thinking (for example, to spot as many green things as possible; to identify any animals; to sing along to some rhymes in the car).
– Allow children to do arts and craft activities at home to allow them to practice working with glue, scissors, holding crayons, and orientating paper.
– Play educational games and crafts as the whole family in a casual environment. This may help them form a good attitude towards learning.
– Read to your children every night. “I have found parents who read to their children every night foster a positive attitude towards literacy and those children appear to develop the skills for comprehension as well as easier letter recognition when they begin school,” says Stacey.