Parents, as well as children, are excitedly waiting for the first of September, the start of the 1st grade of primary school. Are parents or children more excited? The parent asks a thousand questions within himself; will my child be able to sit for 45 minutes, will he be silent in class, whether it will fit in with classmates, etc. The dilemma is many but it all comes down to one question; Is my child fully ready for school?
The level of maturity
The most important thing is that the child has the level of maturity necessary for school learning, that he is physically, intellectually, verbally, socially, and emotionally developed. Maturity is defined as the level of mental and physical development that will enable the child to fulfill the requirements that will be set for him in school.
It includes physical maturity about age, the ratio of weight and height, body weight, growth of permanent teeth. The child should be ready to withstand everyday school challenges (carrying a school bag, sitting on a bench for a long time, etc.)
The intellectual maturity of a child refers to a certain level of intellectual functions such as perception, speech, memory, recognizing the relationship between cause and effect, counting specific objects, understanding the evident laws between certain phenomena. Before starting the first grade, a child does not have to know how to read and write. The teacher will teach him reading and writing the most correct because it can happen that the child has mastered these acquired skills incorrectly, so the additional effort is needed to correct the acquired habits.
But the child’s graphomotor and language abilities need to be practiced in a different way, as well as the ability to reason logically. For example: through the game, the sort with the child, take away the stones, count apples, bananas in the store and measure, so that the child acquires the concept of weight and measurement. Notice changes in nature, comment, notice colors.
Get the child to make comparisons of what is bigger or smaller, to orientate in space (up, down, left, right, below, above, etc.) and time (season, week, day), teach him to read on broken clock time, connect with the part of the day when something is being done – lunch, rest, going for a walk …). Instead of teaching him to write, it is better for the child to practice graphomotor skills by coloring books with wooden crayons, or to put together puzzles of a larger number of age-appropriate pieces. Playing marbles, cutting a pencil but also wiping dishes and dust, bending napkins, etc. also encourage the development of small muscles of fingers and hands. Home dictionaries can be made, so play with words or “word for word”.
Social readiness to go to school refers to the possibility of acquiring specific forms of behavior necessary for establishing and maintaining social ties. This means that the child is ready to come into contact with strangers, but with caution and not fear, to deepen existing friendships in the yard or at home. Also to be ready to take and give toys to other children, share snacks, to finish he watches a children’s film in a cinema or a theater play suitable for his age. Social maturity also implies the existence of adopted cultural habits, such as the use of the words “thank you”, “please” as well as respect for other people’s time. Collecting, making, and arranging collections of pictures (football players, cartoon characters, animals) help to establish better communication and cooperation with other children.
Take care of the child, have time for him, show him that you love him, hang out with the child, and allow him to hang out with other children. Play with him as much as possible, because he learns the most through playing and socializing. Encourage his curiosity, read his books, tell stories, encourage him to tell you a movie, story, or play in his own words. Let him express what he thinks and feels. Allow him to master as many skills as possible, because motor skills are also important for a good start in school. Play ball with it, draw with colorful chalks. Take him to the pool, teach him to swim. They will be more confident and safer. Create conditions so that the child can state his assumptions and observations, that he can make mistakes and that you will not make fun of him because of that.
The child’s skills
The skills needed in school in the first grade seem like too much of a “bite” for a child. But he will learn. Children’s attention lasts for about 15 minutes, and then it changes depending on the interesting content. Attention can be practiced at home by increasing the volume of work tasks and perseverance in solving. Silence and listening are in the nature of every human being, but there are also needs for expressing thoughts, feelings when you are happy, sad, excited, curious … In the beginning, children are all new, so they have a million questions in mind. And they can hardly be quiet to listen when they are interested in a lot of things. It takes a little time for a child to adapt to a new environment, to adopt a new habit. You can practice at home through a pantomime game or some other game.
And the most important thing is to talk to your child and explain to them when it is time for questions and answers, when to listen and when to chat freely with friends. Fitting into society is a social skill that is individual and depends on many factors. The ladder of popularity is formed from the first days, but it is also changing. Some children need more time to relax and get in touch with others. Some children make friends more easily and are more open to new friendships and gaining experience. Shy children need more spontaneous acquaintances, more lasting friendships. Children are sometimes cruelly honest but that is an inevitable part of growing up.
Eight things kids should know before entering 1st grade of elementary school:
- Monitoring and recognition of basic instructions; you can practice connecting two or three tasks at a time. Through the game, completing homework, you can combine multiple tasks at once.
- Communication; The child should overcome the shyness of expressing their needs. Communication is especially important during schooling because it is the foundation for getting to know each other and gaining trust.
- Self-help skills; It would be desirable for the child to have mastered all the basic skills of self-help because that means knowing at school. Practice at home: dressing and undressing (stacking sports clothes), putting on sneakers and tying shoelaces, mastering buttons, zippers, etc. Support your child in overcoming all that, because he can do it!
- Listening, understanding, and retelling stories, texts; parents who read to their children at bedtime have a better-developed ability to remember, retell, and understand texts. Encourage the child to, after reading a story, briefly retell, draw what he understood, perhaps suggest a different ending to the story.
- Sharing is important, socialization in school implies socializing, mutual communication, borrowing toys, exchanging tasks, and cooperation on group projects.
- Basic mathematical concepts; a child should be able to recognize basic shapes, colors, sort by types and shapes, recognize numbers and count, etc. The child should also know the spatial and temporal orientation; ratio smaller and larger, to assemble a whole of ten parts and to sort shapes by color and shape. Through games, worksheets, you can help your child master these skills.
- Letters; it would be good for the child to be able to recognize letters and have an initial picture of understanding that letters represent sounds that are heard in words. Through stories, songs, various phonological games, graphomotor exercises, the child can master the letters. Children who have problems with pronouncing certain syllables should go to a speech therapist before going to school. Due to the child’s self-confidence, it would be good for the parent to be more engaged in this topic before school.
- Dictionary; a child should have 2000 to 2500 words. A sentence should consist of an average of 5 to 6 words and mostly use complex sentences. By reading, communicating, getting acquainted with new words, the child enriches his vocabulary. On the go, through games, before bed, you can dedicate time to this topic.
Give the child support
Some parents do not have enough time to devote to their children in preparation for school. For that, there are kindergartens, experts who prepare systematically. However, it is not enough to just prepare the child before going to school, but also to monitor how the child manages during the first grade and later. It can be said that parents with children start going to school again. As support, one should always show interest, even if the child does not want to, in all the things that the child goes through schooling and growing up.