What your child needs to know before starting school

by admin | 20th October 2021 | , ,

Starting primary school or ‘big school’ is a milestone for any child and their family. It means stepping out from the comfort of the home or pre-school environment where they spend most of their time in play, to a more learning focused and routine driven environment.

How do you know whether your child is ready for this step?

In this blog, we share what to expect from the kindergarten learning program in Australia, what your child should know before starting school and how to prepare them for this next step.

The kindergarten program in Australia

In kindergarten, students spend most of their time developing literacy and numeracy skills. The key learning areas covered in this first year of primary school are:

  • English and literacy – phonics, handwriting, sight words, reading, writing
  • Mathematics and numeracy – counting, exploring patterns, measuring
  • Physical education – a range of movement skills including hand-eye coordination and balancing
  • Creative arts – singing, creating their own art
  • Science – exploring nature, light, sound

As these are the key areas children will develop in their early years at primary school, it’s in these areas that your child should start to build basic skills.


What your child should know

There are no specific skills your child should have before starting kindergarten, however, there are certain skills that will help start off their primary education well. These skills include the ability to:

  • Recognise and spell their own name
  • Recognise some basic words by sight
  • Grasp the concept of reading from left to right
  • Count beyond 10
  • Identify different shapes (e.g. circle, square, triangle) and count the number of sides
  • Communicate well with adults and other children
  • Demonstrate fine motor skills (holding a pencil, cutting and pasting, turning pages in a book) and physical coordination (can run, climb, jump, throw and catch a ball)

If your child doesn’t demonstrate all these skills yet, that’s okay. Children develop at different rates and like any adult, can be stronger in some areas and weaker in others. Learning programs in primary school, especially kindergarten, will cater to the different needs, paces and styles of learning.

When your child starts school is a personal decision you need to discuss with your family. To help you decide, it may be beneficial to talk with your child’s pre-school teacher or doctor for their perspective on your child’s development.

Whether your child is ready to start school now or you choose to wait another year, it’s not too early to engage in activities that will help them prepare for the next step in their learning journey.

How to prepare your child

“Children who have a positive start to school are likely to engage and experience ongoing academic and social success.”

– NSW Department of Education

So how can you as a parent help create a positive start to school for your child?

  • Read books to them regularly to support the development of early literacy skills.
  • Create and maintain routines to help them adjust easier to new school routines.
  • Practice fine motor skills – for example, do arts and crafts involving cutting with scissors, encourage drawing with different tools such as crayons, textas, pencils.
  • Encourage counting through fun activities like board games.
  • Practice writing letters of the alphabet – you can use the NSW Foundation Style writing guide provided by the NSW Department of Education here.
  • Talk with them about what to expect in kindergarten and how this will be different from pre-school. Also listen to how they are feeling. To support these conversations, you can read books like Daisy’s First Day, a children’s book about a koala named Daisy on her first day at primary school.

For additional resources and guidance on preparing your child for primary school, you can access the NSW Department of Education’s ‘Getting ready for primary school’ guide.

Not sure whether your child is ready to start primary school? Enrol in Global Education Academy’s Pre-Kindergarten Tutoring to help your child become a happy and confident learner with personalised and research-based tutoring. In our Pre-Kindergarten program, your child will:

  • Develop early language ability, pre-writing skills and visual recognition of sight words.
  • Learn big maths ideas and connect concepts to daily experiences.
  • Learn in an environment where teachers engage, support and empower them to feel more confident.
  • Develop a passion for learning through our unique teaching style.
  • Receive individual attention and support in our small group class.

Book a trial lesson today to give your child the best start and prepare them for academic and social success.

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Call us on 1300 001 432 to claim your free trial lesson. Offer valid until 30 October 2021.

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