Are you and your child prepared for Prep?

Moving from preschool to primary school is a very exciting time in a child’s life – but it can also be daunting! The language used at school is more demanding and more complex than language used at preschool. This change in language use can be overwhelming for some children. At school the need for communication increases: students are expected to ask for help if they need it and talk about abstract concepts or ideas. Upon starting school, students are expected to be able follow spoken instructions, listen, respond to questions, and tell their news. There are many ways to help your future student prepare, a few are listed below.

Activities you can do in the car or on the go:

  • Play word and listening games to build vocabulary and expressive language. Even something as simple as ‘what’s the first word you think of when I say …’
  • Play “I Spy” with first sounds not letters
  • Have fun with language! Make jokes and discuss the meanings of unusual words
  • Turn off the radio while driving – substitute with ‘Talk Time’
  • Involve your child in lots of talking, listening and wondering
  • Ask open ended questions to encourage your child to talk and express ideas
  • Talk about rhyme and introduce rhyme games
  • Clap out the beats/syllables in words
  • Make sure you are filling up parts of language – feeding in new words to the conversation, discussing what words or phrases mean, telling jokes or commenting on how and what people say

Activities you can do at home:

  • Turn off the TV during dinner – substitute with ‘Talk Time’
  • Help them create books, paste in pictures, use photos or drawings. Children can dictate the text for you to write.
  • Provide writing materials and paper for experimenting with written language
  • Encourage active listening: use CD stories, Simon says and memory games
  • Enjoy alliteration (eg. Penny plays piano; Mum made muffins; Sam sings songs) and tongue twister games.
  • Take time to talk during book time – stop and predict what will happen next, talk about and draw the best part of the story, what does the story remind them of?
  • Ask questions that probe understanding eg. What was the main problem/thing that went wrong in the story? or Why did the character in the story do that? What would you have done?
  • Re-read familiar stories – Encourage your child to help you retell or act out the story

Most importantly have fun!