School Readiness – What Teachers Really Look For
When we hear the term “school readiness,” the first thing that most people think of is children knowing academic basics that will help them meet the demands of the classroom. While these cognitive skills are important, teachers look for skills in other areas of child development that are just as, if not more important. Social, emotional, and physical skills are also essential to the success of a child in school. Preparing children this way helps them enter a classroom feeling secure.
While teachers do help with the development of the whole child, their performance is evaluated based on their ability to teach cognitive skills that will lead to academic success. For that to happen, however, children must already possess social, emotional, and physical skills that are appropriate for their level of development. Amy Graham from Charles Darwin University conducted a study and found that 45% of the teachers she interviewed were more concerned with a child’s confidence, independence, and self-regulation skills when entering the classroom. Studies from the UK have had the same findings. As one teacher said, “We can teach them to write their name, but it’s important to have kids who can function in the classroom.”
This information is powerful for parents to know. While many parents may focus on academic skills like the ABCs and 123s as they prepare their child for school, there are many things that parents do in their day to day routines that will have an effect on their child’s school readiness. Things such as modeling kindness and respect to others, gently encouraging children to follow simple instructions, and playing games that improve gross & fine motor skills all contribute to how their child will perform when he or she starts school.
One important thing that children learn from parental modeling is self-regulation. Managing thoughts and feelings is a big undertaking for a child, but they can learn this easily by having their parents as role-models for appropriate responses. They key to instilling these things is by creating more purposeful opportunities for learning so their readiness in these areas is greater.
One great strategy for improving a child’s school readiness is to give them a chance to experience structured activities outside of the home and away from family for periods of time. This increases their confidence and helps them be more comfortable when it’s time to attend school. The Krav Junior program provides that type of experience. The program is a game-based self defense system that is grounded in child development and psychology. This cutting-edge, research-driven approach encompasses the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development of children. What better way is there for a child to prepare for school than by participating in a program based on the developmental needs of children?
The best part of the Krav Junior system is that it is divided up by age groups from 3 to 12 years old. More specially, in relation to school readiness, the Kids Division (3-5 years old) is top-notch in preparing children for success in school. Each class focuses on the developmental stages for that age. Therefore, students learn skills such as following directions, listening, and sharing, and teamwork. These skills build on each other and each level provides a foundation for the next.
Helping young children prepare for their first day of school doesn’t happen overnight. Providing them with consistent, purposeful experiences that support their overall development, early on, will get them started on the road to school readiness. Doing this in a game-based, nurturing environment that focuses on developing the whole child, will set the stage for an easier adjustment to school and the classroom environment.