Getting ready for school

It’s important for children to spend as much time as possible during their first five years (and beyond) moving and playing. The more opportunities children have to develop their physical and associated social, cognitive and emotional skills through physical activity, the more enjoyable and successful school is going to be.

Top 5 Tips

1. Children need opportunities to spin around and hang upside down in order to develop their vestibular system. A developed vestibular system helps children to be more attentive in class and to take in and process information.

2. Children need to know how much space they take up and how they interact physically with others and the environment (spatial awareness) before they can successfully stand in line and sit on a mat. Let children crawl through confined spaces to learn how big or small they are. Tunnels at playgrounds and an obstacle course at home (a sheet over the kitchen table etc.) are great for this.

3. In order to track words across a page, children need to have developed good eye tracking skills. A good way to do this is to get your child to lie on their back and float a feather down for them to track with their eyes and eventually grab. You can do this with a ‘floaty’ hand too.

4. Children need good stamina and strength to get through a day of school, so let them move, move, move! Games like ‘wheelbarrow’ are great for building up good core strength.

5. Cross-lateralisation (also known as ‘crossing the midline’) is essential for cognitive skills such as reading, writing and maths. You can help children to stimulate the crossing of the midline with crawling games. Activities like crossing one foot over the other while walking sideways, or catching bubbles with one hand will also help with cross-lateralisation.

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