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Are We Ready for School?

By Maureen Penko

I am writing this article in the heat of July and summer holidays have just begun. However, by the time you get this publication, the focus will be on back to school. In this issue, I am going to focus on the parent and the child since both of you are getting ready. The checklist you create is twofold, things to buy, and your child readiness to begin kindergarten or the early years grades.
We know these facts: by 5 years of age your child should:

  • Have all of their speech sounds in place and is 95% clear
  • Knows their numbers up to 30
  • Able to follow directions with two details
  • Speak in sentences which includes, correct verb usage pronouns, plurals, and adjectives
  • Able to have a conversation and ask questions
  • Know colours, and the alphabet
  • Know their name and age
  • Recite some nursery rhyme or a song, and tries rhymes words
  • Listens to books and recognizes a familiar word

Socially they should be able to ask for help, express their feelings, and know how to get the adults attention. These are skills for you to rehearse and develop at home.

By age 6, they are already experienced with how school feels with the exception that for some it is a full day.

We know there are more confident and if they are returning to the same school, there are established friendships.

  • They are early readers and printers and know their favourite characters in books
  • Able to speak in sentences with greater detail
  • Able to sequence their information verbally and non-verbally
  • Ask a variety of questions and know to use connector words such as and, because
  • Math and science is of interest and the mind of inquiry is present. I wonder, what if? and how many?
  • They know about sounds, rhyming, mixing sounds up to create new words and pulling sounds apart to create new words and printing words
  • Their ideas of creativity include vocabulary such as prickly, picky, delicious, slippery, beautiful and stormy
  • Able to monitor the volume of their voice in different settings when reminded by an adult

As speech language pathologist, we will often hear a parent say, I just thought my child would grow out of their speech difficulty or I was told not to worry. My advice to you is, speech and language difficulties that persist, don't just go away. As your child enters school you must think of their speech and language proficiency, social abilities and literacy development as critical elements of readiness. Don't wait to get the help your child needs. If your child is already attending school and is not able to receive the help when in school then be proactive and seek the help outside the school. You do have options and you can self-refer to a speech language pathologist in private practice. I know that you will enjoy the last few weeks of summer collecting memories that can be shared at school. Your child's ability to share a treasured moment by showing and saying is a great way to build a relationship with their teacher.

If you are concerned a phone call to a speech -language pathologist never costs and may give you the piece of mind that says "We are all ready to go."

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