Parents are often called a child’s, 'First Teacher' because preparation for school begins very early in life with infant brain development.
Parents interacting and communicating with children and responding to their needs help build children’s brains and give a firm foundation for learning all skills, such as speech and coping with emotions.
Health Visitors are concerned with all aspects of child development from crawling and walking to social skills and child behaviour. They offer developmental assessments at set stages throughout the early years; but are always willing to answer queries, discuss concerns about your child and offer support. The Healthy Child Programme consists of visits and assessments offered to every child. It is designed to early identify if children require additional services, and to help parents access them, reducing the impact on future learning.
To be school-ready children need to acquire a complex set of skills which are built over time.
There can be significant differences between individual children, families, and cultures in reaching milestones for their age and stage. From one year old most children start to initiate small steps of independence from their parents, such as feeding themselves. Listening to, and observing your child, playing with them, singing songs and nursery rhymes, and supporting their efforts to be independent will all help with school readiness.
Practical school-ready activities you can support your child to learn include:
- dressing themselves
- trying different foods and using cutlery
- washing their hands
- being toilet-trained by day and using a toilet outside the home
- making friends and playing cooperatively with other children
- asking for help from an adult
- being able to understand and follow simple instructions
- sitting still and paying attention for periods
- drawing and using pencils and crayons
- protecting them from serious childhood diseases by having them vaccinated (you can find more information here)