The purpose of a school readiness assessment is to give parents advice on whether a child is ready to start school and to assist with making informed decisions about how to proceed.
Is my child ready to start school?
The age at which Victorian children should start school is set by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. This varies slightly across Australian states and territories, and there is typically an eleven month difference between the youngest eligible child and those who just miss the cut-off date. The education department sets strict guidelines around early age entry, but in some circumstances, a child may be eligible for early school entry.
School readiness factors
While age is a key factor regarding whether your child is ready to start school, there are other important aspects to take into consideration:
Children need to be able to cope with a full day at school and be somewhat self-sufficient. Consider whether your child can go to the toilet alone and do things like put on a jacket and feed themselves.
Children need to be able to cope with separation and be able to relate to other children. Consider whether your child can control emotions such as anger and frustration.
Children need to be able to socialise and play with their classmates. Consider whether your child can take turns, share, compromise and work with others as part of a group.
Academic readiness: Although children do not need to be able to read and write in order to start school, consider whether your child can do things like hold a pencil and use scissors.
Concentration: Children need to be able to focus on activities for extended period of time. Consider whether your child can sustain concentration on table activities and at mat time.
Language skills: Children need to understand and be able to communicate with teachers and peers as well as follow instructions and directions. Consider whether your child is able to follow three step instructions (e.g. ‘go to the toilet, wash your hands and get your lunch’).
Coping with change: Children need to be able to adapt to new and unexpected events and cope with transitions. Consider how your child responds to changes in routines and interacting with new people.
What is involved in a school readiness assessment?
A school readiness assessment may include testing and assessment in the following areas:
- Concept knowledge
- Speech and language
- Auditory processing
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Social skills
- Behaviour and functioning
- Psychological and emotional functioning
A meeting with the school can also be arranged to discuss assessment results and to help put strategies in place to best support your child during their first year of school.
Please contact us for further information.