Although tamariki should be able to enjoy being 4, it's a good idea for whānau to think ahead and give their tamaiti the skills they will need for when they go to school.
When people hear that a tamaiti is 4 years old, the question of school often arises.
- When are you going to school?
- Which school are you going to?
- Are you looking forward to school?
Be in the now
Sometimes it must seem to the child that their purpose in life is just to get ready for school! There’s every good reason for the child to enjoy being 4 and to concentrate on the now rather than putting so much focus on the future.
However, the reality is that starting school is usually a big deal for both the tamaiti and their whānau. Rather than focus just on the when and where, it’s important to think about how prepared this tamaiti is for kura.
Pātai atu ki te whānau:
- What skills will help your tamaiti settle into school?
- What can you do to help develop those skills?
Feeling happy about school
Life will be much happier for tamariki and whānau if they’ve thought about the skills their tamaiti will need for when they go to school. Most of these skills are just part of growing up, becoming more mature and developing as a social being.
Some people think things like the alphabet and reading and counting are what’s meant by school readiness.
Certainly, a love of books and stories, an ability to understand and use language and an understanding of basic maths are all important. But so is having curiosity and knowing how to behave, helping others, concentrating, talking nicely to friends and sharing and socialising with others.
Social and relationship skills are really important for making friends, being part of a group and feeling comfortable and confident in a school environment. When you are relaxed and happy, you learn more easily.
Talk with the whānau about what they think are the important things for getting their tamaiti ready for school.
- What do you think people are referring to when they talk about getting ready for school?
- What sort of things can your tamaiti do to look after themselves when they’re away from home?
- What have you done to help your tamaiti so far?
Kaua e wareware ngā ara mātua – don’t forget the parenting pathways.
Ngā ara mātua help whānau prepare tamariki to trust in the people who love them, to learn how to get on with others, to behave well and to learn about the world, including getting ready for school. In other words, they help tamariki to be happy and capable.
Pātai atu ki te whānau:
- Shall we check to see if there are any ideas in ngā ara mātua that you could work on with your tamaiti now?
Helpful resources for whānau
Ministry of Education: Moving on to school
This page explains how parents can prepare their children for school, focusing on becoming independent and things that will help their participation in a classroom.
Under 5s website: School readiness at home
This article emphasises that children need many skills aside from those of reading, writing and counting that many people associate with school readiness.