The first 5 years of a child’s life are critical to their lifelong development. Giving your child the opportunity to form vital skills prior to starting school is crucial to their education. When a child does not have access to early learning centres or preschool it can be detrimental to their success at school.
During term 2 NCNS Early Childhood Workers, Amy and Carolyn, ran an 8-week Aboriginal School Readiness Program for children going to school in 2020. The aim of this program was to introduce children and parents to school readiness in a culturally safe setting, at our Koolyangarra Aboriginal Child & Family Centre.
During the 8-week program, children worked on writing their names, recognising shapes, colours and numbers. However, becoming school ready is not just about academics, school readiness is about a broader range of skills. This includes self -care skills such as independent toileting, opening snacks and lunch boxes, attention and concentration, physical skills, such as having the endurance to sit upright for an entire school day, emotional regulation, language skills as well as play and social skills.
We focus on creativity, sensory experiences, music and group times each week. We also included library borrowing time each week so that children could read to their families or be read to and also to give them the responsibility of looking after the books they borrowed and returning them each week.
School readiness is an important stage in getting prepared for school, not only to learn new skills but also to identify any developmental needs and provide families with referrals if required. During the program we worked with Building Strong Foundations to complete the 4-year-old developmental checklist.
At the end of the program, the children graduated with hats, robes and certificates of completion. It was a wonderful experience for both children and their families.
The children who completed this program are now prepared for a smooth transition to primary school and parents can rest assured that their child will have the best start to succeed at school.
If you missed out on this Aboriginal School Readiness Program, we recommend that you check out our Aboriginal Supported Playgroups in Cranebrook & St Marys run by NCNS Early Childhood Workers.