Is your child ready for school in 2023?
Transitioning from preschool to ‘big’ school is an important milestone for any child, as well as for the whole family. Starting school is a time of excitement and enjoyment, but for some it can be a time of uncertainty and anxiety. Children face new expectations for independence and responsibility, as well as goals that are more formal than those in preschool. Ensuring your child is ‘school ready’ allows for a smooth transition into kindergarten and formal schooling. Making this transition as easy as possible sets young children on a course for a successful and happy schooling experience. 
What is school readiness?
Being school ready isn’t just centred around academic ability. It incorporates all aspects of a child’s life that contributes to their ability to learn. In addition to cognitive ability, readiness for school recognises a child’s physical, social and emotional abilities.  Let’s break that down:
Physical abilities refer to:
- Gross motor skills – running, jumping, throwing, catching and balancing
- Fine motor skills – manipulating small objects e.g. pencils and blocks, squeezing, gripping, using a glue stick
- Sensorimotor skills – like finger painting and parachute play), and
- Self-help skills which enable children to take care of themselves with independent eating and bathroom use.
Social abilities refer to a child’s ability to share and take turns, cooperate in a group environment, keep hands to themselves, form new friendships, encourage sensitivity toward others’ feelings and nonaggressive conflict resolution.
Emotional abilities refer to a child’s ability to express emotions and feelings appropriately, self-regulate behaviour, control impulses, and have self-confidence. 
How to support your school starter
Be proactive with your planning and support your child in developing ‘school readiness’ skills in the lead up to the new school year. When a child is well prepared, uncertainty is reduced which increases confidence, they are more likely to succeed from day one. If possible, establish your school routine, including what happens before and after school, sooner rather than later.  This could include having breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth and packing their school bag before 8:30am. Stay consistent with your afternoon routine also – afternoon tea and some sort of physical activity to end the day.
- Physical: your child should be mobile for a minimum of 2 hours per day, plus 1 hour of higher intensity exercise.  This could include jumping on the trampoline, time at the park, swimming, a class and/or Free Play at MyFirstGym, a bike ride or skateboard. Also work on fine motor skills. Any sort of arts/crafts (make some Christmas cards this time of the year!), tracing or colouring in, practising writing their name, baking, playing with Lego or other building blocks and play-doh are all great options.
- Social: organise lots of play dates or take your child to location which will require them to interact with other children such as a park. This will encourage progression in social abilities such as sharing and taking turns, forming new friendships, and cooperating in a group environment. Offer positive reinforcement to social behaviours such as saying please and thank you and following rules.
- Emotional: Start to talk about school and what it will be like. Acknowledge that they might feel scared and that’s ok.  Develop your child’s confidence through encouraging independence by completing tasks on their own. A good way to start talking about emotions and starting school, is reading books! Have a look at these options – First Day by Andrew Daddo and Dash Dinosaur is Starting School by A. Goss.
How can we support your child?
Attend classes which will be part of their new big school routine
As mentioned above, it is important to establish routine. Next year, your child will most likely be attending our senior 5-7 classes in the afternoon. Let’s begin the transition now! Not only will your child have the opportunity to start playing and interacting with school aged kids (which will improve social skills) they will become accustomed to expending energy in the afternoon after a full day of activity. If you are currently doing Dingo Pups classes in the morning, we suggest swapping this for free play, and coming to FitClub, Ninja Warrior or any other 5-7 classes in the afternoon. Learn more about our senior classes here.
Try new classes
Your child is about to have a huge new experience in starting school! Get them comfortable with new experiences now. Whether this is a new day, a different class type, or same class type with a different coach, try something out of the norm. A different class will most likely have a different students, so will also encourage interactions and socialisation with unfamiliar faces.
Your child is about to become very independent, so try Drop and Run. Your child will need to check in, take their shoes and socks off (remember where they put them!), and line up for class. After class, they’ll need to collect their drink bottle and put their shoes and socks back on independently. Just make sure you bring them into the gym and are in the club when the class ends.
Ensure your child is active for at least 3 hours a day, including 1 hour of higher intensity exercise or play. Healthy and physically fit children have higher mental alertness, allowing them to focus on and actively engage in learning experiences.  Book your kids into classes and stay consistent with activity once school begins.
School Readiness Program
Did you know we run a School Readiness Program? This program includes elements similar to their upcoming school experience such as taking ownership of belongings, following instructions, socialisation (such as turn taking and sharing), using their fine and gross motor skills, and spending time away from home. If you are interested in finding out more about our school readiness program, email us back.
Please reach out if you would like to discuss moving your child to the 5-7 age group (if they are not yet 5), or if you have any questions about our senior classes or School Readiness Program.
We can’t wait to support your 2023 school starters!
1. Nancy L Cappelloni, Kindergarten Readiness (Corwin Press, 2012), pp. 14-19, 123-126.
2. Carol Copple, Getting a Good Start in School (National Education Goals Panel, US Government Printing Office, 2000), pp 4-23.
3. Carol Emig, School Readiness: Helping Communities Get Children Ready for School and Schools Ready for Children (Child Trends Inc., 2000), pp. 3-5.
4. Australian Government, Department of Health and Aged Care, Physical Activity and Exercise Guidelines for all Australians (Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2021) <https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians/for-infants-toddlers-and-preschoolers-birth-to-5-years> [24 October 2022]