2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Enrolling in school is a defining moment for a parent who sees their cherub take the road to the big ones. But what if you find out he's not ready?
Ready for school?
Starting school is different for every child, and their first years of life contribute to this difference. Indeed, between 0 and 5 years old, baby will go through several stages which will all involve a lot of learning. Each of these stages will lead him to develop so that he can walk through the door of the school well prepared.
Articles, books and websites that deal with school readiness for children usually explain what the child should be able to master or have acquired: he must be clean, in l being able to recognize and control one's little needs, and knowing how to organize oneself when it comes time to go to the toilet. He must be curious and eager to learn, sociable, capable of a certain autonomy, and able to separate from the parent. He must also be able to partly manage his emotions, either not to cry at the first frustration or to have endless tantrums. However, mastering your language well is also one of the important aspects, evenessential, since it is the support for all participation in social and academic life.
Let's see why language is such an important criterion in the activities that are done in kindergarten and during the first years of primary school.
Speaking through language
In all everyday situations, whether at school or elsewhere, language allows the child to relate to others. To achieve this, he must be able to answer them, inform them, question them, express an opinion, express his feelings, describe or recount an event.
The language spoken at school
As in all new situations, moving from home or daycare to school requires preparation. To help our little one, it is interesting to think about what changes for him.
- Dealing with new people, and more importantly, more strangers: the regular and physical education teacher, the management staff, the janitor, the bus driver, the crossing guard and daycare staff…
- To find oneself in hitherto unexplored communication contexts. For example, they will be asked to share with other students situations they have experienced. In these little talks, they will be asked to talk about their weekends, to talk about their family, their favorite animal, their tastes… The child who manages to express himself easily in these situations will develop his confidence and his esteem, which will facilitate hisintegration and interest in school.
- Explain yourself. The teacher will not always know what the child needs or what has just happened between two little ones. For this reason, the fact of expressing themselves well will be useful to them: to explain themselves at all times, to defend themselves in a conflict situation, but also to make friends, to discuss or play with them in the workshops, to ask for an explanation if he has not understood an instruction or to repeat otherwise if he has not been understood…
The understanding of language
To understand means to be able to discover what another person wanted to tell us through his message. It is also being able to create an image “in your head”. In addition to words, messages are transmitted by a set of factors such as non-verbal cues (look, gestures, posture), but also by the situation in which people find themselves and the objects around them. Several elements are essential for a child to be able to understand. Over the years of preschool, the child should have acquired the following habits:
- pay attention to people;
- stop at what is said to him, which is called “being focused”;
- call on your memory;
- use the vocabulary he knows;
- use his logic;
- consider the context.
Understanding the language at school
School includes several new situations for which understandinglanguage that the child has developed is used. Initially, the teacher will support his youngsters by demonstrating what he expects of them and by using many visual examples, but over the months the child will have to have recorded this information, because the instructions will be less and less less supported by examples. In addition, language at school is impersonal: the child finds himself in a group where information and instructions are transmitted to all the children; they are no longer individualized. Those who don't have much group listening experience may find it difficult to relate and don't understand what to do when asked.
When entering school, the child must have several knowledges, because preschool learning is based on the understanding of:
- simple (eg: fetch your paint apron), double (eg: fetch your paint apron and sit down with your friend) or complex (eg: fetch your paint apron) instructions and sit down with a friend you've never worked with).
- concepts of time (eg: later, tomorrow), of space (eg: behind, inside, between…), of quantity (eg: two, several, a pair…), comparison (e.g. greater than, less than, more, …)
- words-questions: who, where, when, how, why, did…
Basic for reading and writing
Not only is language necessary for goodday-to-day functioning, but it is still one of the essential conditions for learning to read and write. Written characters, i.e. letters and words, can be compared to a new code for the child, to a new language. To learn it, he must already have a solid knowledge of his spoken language:
- good pronunciation;
- age-appropriate vocabulary;
- well-differentiated grammar words. Here are some examples: able to put words in the feminine (it's a big giraffe, it's my sister), to use personal pronouns (he for boys and she for girls), and possessive determiners (my, sa, tes, …), to use the appropriate verb tenses for situations (I ate, I'm going to sleep at my grandparents'), to name but a few;
- able to make complete and explanatory sentences of at least 5 words and connect them with words like “and”, “because”, “after”…;
- able to make comments about language: react to the fact that a word is funny, that we got the wrong word, that a word comes from another language, that it rhymes with another, etc.
How do I know if my child is ready
As a parent, you probably have some intuition about this. It is important to listen to them and question the people around the child in order to have confirmation of your impression. People closely or remotely connected to the education community can help you in this process. Duringregistration at the school, it is possible to ask the school management if one of the professionals in place can answer your questions. In addition, early childhood center educators have received training on child development and have observation grids that highlight the strengths and points to work on in the child before school. And if you prefer, we add some sources to consult to help you in your personal assessment of the situation.
How do I react to help my child?
There is always time to do something to help our child. The best thing is to identify the aspects of your language that need to be improved before starting school and get to work immediately. Not only is it important to know the aspects that the child needs to improve, but also the importance of this delay. This will be part of the decision to help him: a kindergarten preparation book, registration for a day camp for the summer, a speech therapy consultation? Over the years, I have set up a stimulation program that targets several prerequisites in terms of language: vocabulary, sentences, the various uses of language (describing, telling, explaining), word games, attention and memory, sound games in preparation for written language. It allows children to progress on various points of language and parents to better understand the challenges that await the child when he arrives at school.school.
Since it's not too late to help our child, and summer is upon us, why not take the opportunity to do these activities in the park, in the swimming pool, during outings? After all, it's all about having a little fun, and so many activities lend themselves well to stimulating language!