How do I know if my child is ready for school?

Starting school is a very big and exciting milestone for your child and for the whole family. It is the start of their adventure of more formal education and a great step in their independence. It can be difficult to know if your child is ready to embark on this journey or when you should send them to school. Here is some information about the expected language skills that children around 5 years old should have or be developing:

Understanding –

  • Be able to understand and follow instructions with three parts e.g. go and get your shoes and book and put them in your school bag.
  • Understand the meaning of time words e.g. first, next, later, now.
  • Beginning to recognize some numbers, letters and sounds.
  • Starting to think about the meaning of words when learning them.
  • Listen to and understand simple stories that are read aloud to them.

Speaking –

  • Be understood by most people. They may still have some sound errors such as ‘r’ and ‘th.’
  • Answer yes and no questions.
  • Answer open-ended questions.
  • Retell an event or simple story.
  • Engage in conversation.

Here are some tips to practice some of these skills:

  • Model social language and conversations when you are out and about with your child e.g. greeting people, asking simple questions and answering
  • Talk about your day at dinner or bath time to practice retelling information. You could use some photos that you have taken during the day as a prompt if your child needs help.
  • Reading books at home and talking about the story and characters.
  • Invite other children over or go out to the park etc to practice social skills in a place where you are there to support your child.

Please note it is completely normal for your child to still be developing in some of these areas as they start school. Everyone develops at different rates, however if you have concerns feel free to contact us for some more specific information.

Olivia Green
Speech Pathologist

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