Is your child ready for pre-school?

Speak your mind by Dr Guru Kistnasamy

It is an exciting but also a worrying time for parents who place their young children at school for the first time.

If it is your first child, as a parent you may experience more separation anxiety than your child does! Many mothers have been seen to wipe away their tears as they leave their child at school and head back home.

The following levels of development may indicate that your child is ready for his or her first year at school.(Idel Combrink-Foundation phase teacher):

  • They require more stimulation outside of home. They ask to go on trips and outings away from home. They lose interest in toys and activities at home.
  • They are ready to spend more time away from you. Your child should be equally comfortable spending time with a close relative or nanny when you are not there.
  • They can make themselves understood. The child should be able to communicate his needs and be able to make simple requests. It may not be necessary to talk in full sentences.
  • They can focus on an activity on their own. The first year at school involves participation in many short activities. They should be able to spend five to ten minutes doing puzzles, stacking blocks, colouring in, etc.
  • They can perform basic personal tasks. Most schools would like your child to use a toilet independently. They should be able to pull up their pants, wash and dry hands. They should be able to eat a snack on their own.
  • They cope well in a group. They should participate in group activities, sit still, share toys and follow basic instructions.

As a parent, do not show that you are anxious. They will pick up on it and become anxious themselves. Prepare your child for emotional independence. Follow a routine at home so that he gets used to it at school. Enlarge your child’s world by outings and meeting new people.

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