Getting a headstart in primary school

preschool singapore expert

Afraid that your little one will fall behind? Help your child in his transition by forming a good foundation

How to have a headstart in primary school education?

Are you worried about how your little one will cope when they go to primary one? Some children may already have a good foundation formed in kindergarten, but others who have not grasped basic skills may struggle to keep up when they go to primary school. Here are some skills you can help your child learn so that it would be less stressful when they transition to primary one.

1. Penmanship

Legible and neat handwriting is important in school, especially when doing their homework. Penmanship is one of the most important fine motor skills that a child needs and can develop at a young age. Common handwriting problems such as letter formation, sizing, spaces between words, and line-alignment can make your child’s writings illegible.

You can start by teaching your child to hold the pencil that is the right size, correctly. Your child can practice his handwriting by doing exercise on a handwriting book that can be purchased at a bookstore. Remember to be patient so that your child does not lose confidence!

2. Basic literacy

Basic literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. Children develop literacy behaviours from everyday encounters such as the television, posters or even from their parents. However, these behaviours can only be useful in primary school if they can read and write conventionally.

Reading and writing are intertwined hence it is important for children to experience both. You can start by reading books to your child to spark an interest. Involve your child in simple activities such as making a shopping list or a card. This can help your child to engage and create texts so that it can be applied in school.

3. Numeracy skills

Having learnt to recognise numerals and counting to ten during their preschool years may not be enough when your child goes to primary school. Numeracy is the application of maths concepts in everyday life. Your child should be ready to learn to count and represent numbers through drawing and using concrete materials such as coins and ice cream sticks. Children who are aged 5-6 should be able to count to 30 and represent numbers to up to 20.

You can help your child in this area by introducing maths skills into every activity to help build numeracy skills. For example, you can help your child by asking them to count their toys as they keep it or helping them recognise everyday numbers like clocks and currency. This skill is useful when he attends math classes in primary school.

4. Cognitive readiness

Cognitive readiness is when your child thinks, explores and figures things out. It is the development of the brain where knowledge, skills, problem solving and dispositions can help your child think about and understand the world around them. 

This is especially important because it provides a foundation in school where your child can have the skills for learning, such as the ability to pay attention without being distracted and understand the instructions or being able to write without careless mistakes. 

You can help promote your child’s cognitive development by actively engaging in quality interactions on a daily basis such as exposing your child to puzzles or expanding on your child's interests in specific learning activities.

5. Self-directed learning

Self-directed learning is important as your child steps into primary school with lesser supervision then preschools have. It is important as it helps your child to come out of primary school with the knowledge they need to know.

Encourage curiosity and enthusiasm in your child by trusting them in trying new things. This will make your child feel that the things that they want to do are meaningful and they will have more interest in it. Self-directed learning happens when your child wants to learn something just because they want to, if they feel that they have your trust and freedom, they will want to explore more of their own interest.

It is important to teach your child concepts using everyday objects so that it is easier for them to relate to. For example, you may use different types of containers to help your child learn and identify shapes from different perspectives. Incorporate everyday objects into your child’s learning so that they can apply such learnings when they go to primary school.

Importance of starting primary school education well

Starting the first years of school lays the foundation for the rest of your child’s academic career hence leading to academic success. It is important to ensure that your child is ready and ahead in his primary school education so that your child is always ready to go to the next level.

As a parent, you can play an active role in your child’s learning and help them develop the skills they need to succeed by offering them the opportunity to grow as a human being.

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