About the speaker: Dr Helen Likierman is a consultant clinical psychologist working with families and children where there are emotional, social, behavioural or learning concerns. Visit Helen's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
Further information about this Talk
Visit Helen's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
To get hold of Valerie Muter's and Helen Likierman's latest book on how parents can prepare their child for school please click here.
Key Points Covered in This Talk:
- The importance of being well prepared: Starting school for the first time can be an anxious time. It is important that if parents do feel a bit worried that they do not transmit this anxiety to their child so that the transition from home to school can be smooth and comfortable. This means making sure that the child is ready to start school, having all the skills in place needed in order to be prepared. Parents have a fantastically good opportunity to show the skills they already have. Parents should feel confident as they are the experts on their child and they are the best people to help their child get ready for the start of school.
Apart from making the start pleasant and happy there are a number of other reasons why preparing for school by parents is a really good idea. Coping well at school from the start makes for better progress throughout school life. Children will settle in much better emotionally if they are well prepared in advance for who they are going to meet and what they expect to do. They can therefore deal with problems more effectively and can make friendships more easily. Preschoolers who develop good letter and sound awareness will go on to have far fewer reading problems when they go to school. Furthermore preschoolers who learn how to make friends are likely have far fewer psychological problems than those who have difficulties making friends. Children who have problems with making friendships can either internalise and become anxious and worried or externalise them by showing behaviour problems.
Preschoolers who learn to listen and to behave well will find it easier to fit in at school. They will respond properly to what the teachers are expecting them to do, they can take in the information and teachers feel like they are doing a good job as the child wants to learn.
- What can parents do to ensure a successful start to school?: There are lots of things that can be done and it is important to develop skills in the following areas before children start school:
- Self-care: being able to look after yourself in the toilet, eating and dressing.
- Behaviour: doing what you are told, understanding the rules of a school.
- Social: being able to relate to other children and teachers, making friends.
- Emotionally: being able to deal with new situations such as starting school, separating from parents.
- Attention and concentration: being able to follow what teachers are telling children, to take in information and to learn.
- Spoken language: being able to communicate and understand what other people are saying.
- Reading: about developing pre-reading skills.
- Number: understanding the background to formal number work, understanding concepts such as size and shape.
- Writing: developing pencil control, learning to draw and to paint.
- How children develop: Not all children develop at exactly the same rate. There is a very wide range of what is normal in young children and some will catch up a little bit later on.
- The benefit of early action: This will help to prevent later problems. You can stop many difficulties before they start.