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Love Learning Through Play: A School Readiness Program To Inspire Learning

Updated: 6 days ago

Starting school is a significant milestone in a child's life, and ensuring they are ready for this new adventure is crucial. For parents on the Gold Coast, Beelieve Paediatric Therapy is launching a school readiness program to support your child's development as they work towards entering school for the first time.



school readiness program

As parents, we strive for the best for our children, and entry into school should be no different. Every child is an individual who has had experiences that have shaped their growth and development so far - this means that every child starting school is running their own race. At the school gate you will find a huge wonderful mix of personalities, opinions and abilities - and we cherish and value every single one.



What is a School Readiness Program?

In starting school it is natural to feel some anxiety and nerves about if your child is ready - they might be feeling nervous themselves! So while we celebrate their intricacies and all of the little things that make them special, there are some things we can do to help set them up to enter school in the most positive way possible. This is where our school readiness program comes in - providing our clients with all of the necessary building blocks so that they feel confident as they enter their classroom on their very first day!



school readiness


What is School Readiness?

School readiness refers to the set of skills, knowledge, and behaviours that enable a child to participate and succeed in school. These include physical, cognitive, social, and emotional skills that are foundational for academic learning and social interaction.


We’ve already talked on this blog about the foundations of school readiness, and how you can work on these skills at home.


However sometimes you might feel pushed for time, or a bit overwhelmed at all of the activities and ideas for activities out there (anyone have an extremely full Pinterest board? No judgement - us too!), and that is where a school readiness program can really help.


schools readiness

Our 2024 school readiness program is running in Term 4 (with enrolments needing to be confirmed by the conclusion of Term 3, 2024), designed for children entering Prep in QLD in 2025. For 2024, we are excited to announce that this year we will be partnering with Upside Kids Physio and Health and Speech For Kids to bring the only PREP Readiness group that provides OT, Physio and Speech Pathology together in a comprehensive program to support up your child to start school. Please contact us for information about how to enrol (link to email address with subject query). Enrolments open the 8th of July and close 13th of September.


Why are School Readiness Skills Important?

School readiness skills are essential because they prepare children for the structured environment of a classroom, help them interact appropriately with peers and teachers, build a foundation for future academic success, and promote positive attitudes towards learning and school.


Of course, schools and teachers are equipped to support children who struggle with these skills. They have honestly seen it all and there is no need to feel embarrassed or nervous if you feel your child is having a hard time mastering any school readiness skills.



is my child ready for school

What are the Building Blocks Necessary to Develop School Readiness?


Self-regulation

Self-regulation is crucial for managing emotions and behaviour in different situations because it allows children to navigate the social and academic demands of school with confidence and resilience. This skill involves the ability to control one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviours in the face of temptations and impulses, which is essential for effective learning and social interaction.

When children develop self-regulation, they can handle frustration, stay focused on tasks, and adapt to changes in their environment. For instance, in a classroom setting, a child with strong self-regulation can wait patiently for their turn to speak, follow the teacher's instructions, and cope with any disappointments or setbacks, such as not being chosen for a desired activity.


Sensory processing


what is school readiness

Sensory processing helps children interpret and respond to sensory information from the environment by allowing them to take in and make sense of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures they encounter daily. This ability is critical for functioning effectively in various settings, particularly in a school environment where sensory stimuli are abundant and varied.



Receptive language

Receptive language, the ability to comprehend what others are saying, and expressive language, the ability to express thoughts and needs effectively, are foundational for communication. These two aspects of language development are critical for a child's overall ability to interact, learn, and function in a school environment.


Articulation

Articulation, or the clear pronunciation of words, is essential for being understood and effectively conveying messages. It involves the physical ability to move the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs to produce sounds, syllables, and words. Articulation is a critical aspect of expressive language that significantly impacts a child's ability to communicate with others.


Executive Functioning Skills

Executive functioning skills, such as planning, organisation, and problem-solving, are crucial for completing tasks efficiently and effectively. These skills enable children to manage their thoughts, actions, and emotions to achieve goals. They are foundational for academic success and everyday functioning.


Emotional development

Emotional development refers to the process by which children learn to identify, express, and manage their emotions. This includes understanding complex feelings, developing empathy, forming healthy relationships, and building self-esteem. Emotional development is a gradual process that evolves as children grow and interact with their environment. It’s not something we expect children to simply gain overnight - this skill is a constant rollercoaster of learning, all the way into (and throughout) adulthood!


school readiness checklist

Social skills

Social skills are essential for interacting appropriately with others and navigating various social situations effectively. These skills enable children to develop and maintain positive relationships, communicate effectively, and collaborate with peers and adults. Social skills play a crucial role in both academic and personal success, as they influence how children interact with classmates, teachers, family members, and other individuals in their lives.

Planning and Sequencing

Planning and sequencing are fundamental cognitive processes that allow children to organise their thoughts and actions in a logical order to complete tasks effectively. These skills are essential for academic success, daily routines, and navigating various activities in both structured and unstructured settings.



What Can Be Done to Improve School Readiness Skills?


how to know if your child is ready for school

Engaged parenting will always be a benefit to supporting school readiness skills. Parents can help improve school readiness skills by encouraging independence in self-care tasks with verbal guidance rather than physical help and facilitating play dates and social interactions can develop social skills. Regular reading sessions can build literacy skills, and talking about school routines and expectations can prepare children for what lies ahead.


Collaborating with preschool teachers to address developmental concerns is also beneficial - we recommend writing a list of things that you think your teacher should know about your child, including things they are interested in, as well as potential triggers (like loud noises), or areas they are working on (like sharing or turn taking). You can use our All About Me sheets to help you!


Visual strategies, such as using picture schedules, can help children understand daily routines and allow them to independently practice processes like dressing.


Familiarising children with school-like environments through outings (or even walking or driving past the school) can ease transitions, and engaging in activities that strengthen hand muscles can improve fine motor skills.


paediatric occupational therapist gold coast

Why Should I Seek Therapy if I Notice Difficulties with School Readiness in My Child?

Early intervention can significantly improve a child's readiness for school. Occupational therapy can provide targeted support to develop necessary skills, ensuring your child has a positive and successful start to their educational journey.


Our school readiness program isn’t just designed for children who are struggling though - it is designed as an overall positive engagement experience for all children entering Prep!


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Because the truth is that every single one of us has our strengths and our struggles - and it’s with support and guidance that we can overcome our struggles, and improve on our strengths. Our school readiness program aims to foster a sense of excitement about entering school, while teaching fundamental school readiness skills, and providing a space to experiment and practice them.



Building a Love of Learning through Play

At the heart of our school readiness program is play-based learning. This approach makes learning enjoyable and engaging, encourages exploration and curiosity, and helps children develop essential skills in a natural and fun environment. Our program is full of fun learning disguised as games, play and opportunities for positive successes. We aim to foster a sense of school being an exciting challenge ahead, something to look forward to with anticipation and willingness, rather than apprehension and dread.

For some examples of fun play based activities that will get your child ready to start school, why not try making and then playing our fun dice game?

paediatric occupational therapy

Developing Physical Skills

Physical activities are integrated into our program to improve both gross and fine motor skills, which are crucial for tasks like writing and participating in sports. Our lead Occupational Therapist, Rochelle, is amazing at creating hands-on tasks that ignite enthusiasm, excitement and the urge to give new things a go. She creates tasks that feel like play and games, in order to inspire sometimes reluctant or shy children into taking part and learning something new (usually without realising that they are actually learning something!)


Social and Emotional Skills

Our program focuses on helping children develop strong social connections and emotional resilience, setting them up for positive interactions and relationships at school.


paediatric ot therapy

While our program allows for multiple opportunities to engage in turn-taking, sharing and active listening, we also look at self care in areas such as toileting and how to keep our bodies clean and healthy.


Working with Schools, Families, and Communities

Collaboration with schools, families, and the wider community ensures a holistic approach to your child's development, providing consistent support across all areas of their life. We actively work with community groups and schools on a daily basis, and have a clear understanding of what is expected in a child entering school for the very first time, and have access to resources and professionals who guide and support our programming and planning.


Our school readiness program is designed to be a way to help your child build a strong foundation for their educational journey, ensuring they have the skills and confidence to thrive in school and beyond, while also offering a fun and exciting challenge to get everyone excited for the school year ahead!

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