How’s your child doing at school?
We’re well into the first term of school. How is your Grade R or Grade 1 learner coping? At the end of last year, did an assessment conclude that he or she was school ready but now you’re seeing signs that not all is well?
Let’s consider wht might be going on.
A broad definition of school readiness describes it as meaning each child enters school ready to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences that best promote the child’s success. This means that the child should have developed adequately. Inherent in this definition is the understanding that the child is also learning ready, meaning that the brain has developed to a point of supporting a child’s ability to learn educational materials.
Development areas relevant for school success are:
- Health and physical well-being.Apart from health through eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest and receiving adequate medical care, a child should be able to do all the activities that help develop large muscles and provide exercise (running, jumping, climbing etc.), and activities that help develop small muscles (using pencils, crayons, scissors, etc.). A child can look healthy and engage in physical activities but if there is delay in competence in these areas, they may be experiencing a delay in brain development.
- Emotional and social preparation.This includes the ability to follow directions, be able to communicate needs and wants, be motivated to learn, explore and try new things as well as being able to separate from parents and form relationships with other children, and to be able to listen and focus. Any hiccups here are again possible signs of lagging areas of brain development.
- Language, maths and general knowledge.Children should recognise and say simple rhymes, be willing and able to learn to write, count, identify shapes and colours, listen and remember stories, understand simple concepts of time, sort and classify objects. Clearly being delayed in these growing abilities will make school more challenging than it should be.
If a learner is showing any signs of difficulties in these key areas, it might be wise to consider an evaluation to determine learning readiness. Without development of the brain networks needed to acquire the skills associated with learning, a child may be handicapped and face a barrier to learning.