By Brenda Leeman, devoted mommy to Connor, aged 3, a Registered Counsellor with a passion for helping children. Runs Chameleon Play Therapy Centre which offers School Readiness Assessments.
My child is old enough for school; why doesn’t that mean he’s ready for school? I’m sure the answer to that is obvious when you look at the vast difference between those children excelling in grade 1 and those who are struggling. Here are some issues and tools you should consider when making your decision.
School Readiness Testing
What this describes is a test that will give parents an indication of what kind of school to put their children in, what level of functioning they can expect from their children for the first year of school, and, most importantly, an idea of their child’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to schoolwork. All these factors can then be taken into consideration in order for families to create a supportive study programme catering specifically to their child’s needs.
When looking for the right school for your child check out:
A School’s Reputation
Talk to the parents of children currently attending the school. If parents are happy with their child’s school, they are usually more than happy to sing its praises. (I know I do.) You know exactly what special attention your child needs, so ask questions related specifically to this.
Role Of the Teachers
A very important factor when deciding is understanding the role of the teachers. Your child will be spending a great deal of their time next year with their new teacher, possibly even more time than they spend with you. It is so imperative that your child has a good relationship with their teachers, as this promotes an unthreatening environment for the child to raise their concerns. Children are more likely to tell a teacher that they don’t understand something if they know the teacher will provide unconditional acceptance and support in response. Talk to the Grade 1 teachers at the school before deciding to put your child in their care. This is definitely the time to use your “gut feelings” – you will know if your child is in good hands or not.
An added bonus for any school, is the availability of extra-curricular physical activities. Your child should have the opportunity to not only work their mind, but their body too. The benefits of sport are innumerable. Physical activities will calm an anxious child down and improve their self-confidence. These skills can be channelled back into the classroom in order to promote academic achievement.