In order to be confident in a formal schooling environment, children need many skills that can't be learned from a book. Here are 4 important school readiness skills that children learn in child care centres that can help prepare them for schooling.
In order to convey their needs to caregivers, as well as conveying thought and feelings to peers, children need to learn communication skills. In a home environment, caregivers can often guess what a child may need or be so used to a schedule that they can preempt the child's needs. However, in order to be ready for school, it's a good thing for the child to be able to clearly their needs to a teacher, even in a busy environment such as kindergarten classroom. Child care centres give children a chance to practise their communication in a busy environment from a young age.
As children move into schooling, they need to develop self care skills such as being able to look after themselves in the toilet, blow their noise and unwrap their own lunch. School teachers can help children remember the need to do these tasks, but it's important that the children have the underlying skills so that they confidently go about their day without needing serious assistance. Children often learn these skills quickly in childcare with slightly older peers serving as examples.
Sharing and turn taking
In a school environment, children need to share play equipment and school resources. It is important that children can learn the ability to share and take turns with equipment so that everyone can get fair access and that no child gets unduly upset and loses focus on the intended educational outcomes! These skills also help a child to develop social relationships amongst their peers, which is an important part of the schooling process. Formal child care encourages this from a young age, as the room resources are shared between a larger number of children.
Life can provide many minor challenges and frustrations. It's important to have the emotional self-regulation skills to moderate emotions when the child does not get to do what they want as soon as they want. This skills in part comes with maturity, but can also be developed with practise. Child care centres often require the child to practise self regulation to keep to a defined schedule.
Spending some time in a child care centre or preschool can help your child develop some important school readiness skills.