Prep Readiness: Are we There Yet?

In 2017, P-2 Year Level Coordinator, Kelly McBurnie delivered a presentation on Prep Readiness at the Mater Hospital Symposium. Kelly works closely with our beautiful St Peters Prep students and, by doing so, has become knowledgeable on early childhood development. Her presentation focused on how parents can determine if their child is ready for Prep. If this is something that you’ve been wondering about, read on to find out more.

Signs of readiness

Kelly lists four key indicators of Prep readiness. These include:

  • Behavioural regulation
  • Complex thinking and organisational skills
  • Language and literacy capabilities
  • Motor coordination

Despite the importance of these four indicators, not all children are commencing Prep with these skills. In fact, there’s been a significant decline in students presenting with adequate language and literacy skills of late. Similarly, gross motor skills have been below the accepted benchmarks (8% below in 2015, 14% below in 2016 and 26% below in 2017).

Why are we falling behind?

There are many factors that effect a child’s ability to develop these key indicators. Technology, the quality of preschool education, changes to the Prep program, a lack of parental time or knowledge or, conversely, increased parental vigilance are amongst the main factors. So, in a world where technology is ever-present and time is hard to come by, what are the things you can easily do to ensure your child can hit the ground running?

1. Teach students to problem solve

A ready, well-rounded Prep student is one that can cope with blips in the day. These are students able to move on, rather than become angry, upset, or withdrawn if something doesn’t go to plan.

Unfortunately, many children today crumble when they make a mistake, receive constructive feedback, or if things don’t go to plan. Children often rely on their parents to problem solve for them. While this is hard to overcome, it is very important that your child is able to monitor their behaviour, take pride in their attempts, and see value in making mistakes. Kelly suggests acknowledging your child’s feelings when things don’t go to plan, modelling coping behaviours, and encouraging positive self-talk.

2. Personal organisation

Well-developed organisational skills will assist your child in getting ready for each new day. A ready Prep student should be able to unpack their bag, follow two-step instructions, dress and toilet themselves, complete tasks, move and think quickly, and transition easily.

To help your child develop their organisational abilities, use visual schedules or mind maps and ensure that basic skills are well established. Break large tasks into smaller chunks to ensure they can see projects through from start to finish.

Kelly notes that there are other ways that you can assist your child in becoming Prep ready. These include developing their fine and gross motor skills, fostering a love of literacy, and establishing a growth mindset.

For more information or strategies on how to assess Prep readiness in your child, contact Kelly McBurnie – P-2 Year Level Coordinator