What are the ingredients for a successful start to school? If you’re a parent of a child beginning school next year, no doubt this is a question at the forefront of your mind. It’s easy to spend way too many hours stressing out about how your child will adjust to the new routines and expectations of ‘big school’, before their time at kindy is even done and dusted. I know because this time last year I was doing exactly the same thing.
Feeling a little anxious is a very normal experience for most of us. But instead of spending your time fretting, let’s channel that energy into getting the foundations in place, for your child’s schooling success.
So what are those nine ingredients for schooling success, you ask? Here they are, and as you may notice, children knowing their ABC’s is not one of them!
1. Integrated Primitive Reflexes
In order to think, listen, learn and communicate at full capacity, a child’s primitive reflexes need to be integrated.
Primitive reflexes Under the Microscope Part 1
Primitive Reflexes Under the Microscope Part 2
Primitive Reflexes Under the Microscope Part 3
Primitive Reflexes Under the Microscope Part 4
- Research on the Reflexes
2. Switched on Sensory System
Our brain needs to be able to sort through and make sense of all of the incoming sensory information our body collects. This helps us to be calm, physically and emotionally grounded and to create understandings from the world around us.
3. Body & Spatial Awareness
Having a strong understanding of what parts of the body we have, where they’re located and how it feels to move them helps us to feel whole in our physical body. It also helps our coordination hugely!
This body awareness then allows for the development of spatial awareness, which is knowing where we are in relation to everything else around us. It doesn’t sound like a big thing but being able to layout work on a page is one of the skills dependent upon spatial awareness.
4. Crossing the Midline
To read with ease, our eyes need to be able to cross the midline, an invisible barrier at the centre of our body. To write comfortably from left to write on the page, our hand and arm also need to be able to cross this barrier. Typically the midline disappears at three years of age. Seemingly simple tasks however, will be challenging for the increasing number of children starting school with it still firmly in place.
5. Rich Language on Hand
Having a large vocabulary and well formed sentences help a child to express their needs and wants, as well as make and maintain friendships more easily. These verbal language skills later transfer to the written word, allowing depth and clarity of meaning right across all curriculum areas.
6. Strong Eye Muscles
Just like any muscle in our body, our eyes need to be strong and well developed to complete the complex tasks required of them. Moving our eyes from left to right (tracking) and refocusing between two objects of different distances (accommodation) are crucial to a child’s school success. Why? Because these abilities are ingrained in the processes of reading, writing and copying from the whiteboard.
7. Imagination & Creativity
To have a mind full of ideas, be practised in problem solving and to have an abundance of play experiences out in nature, develops children’s creativity muscle. While creativity is somewhat undervalued in our education system, it’s directly connected to intelligence as well as feelings of fulfilment.
If you haven’t yet watched Ken Robinson’s inspiring and entertaining TedTalk, ‘How schools kill creativity’, I urge you to do so.
8. Good Fuel
Participating at school requires a huge amount of brainpower. To be able to concentrate and learn is dependent upon eating the right fuel for the job. Packaged food, while really convenient I know, just isn’t enough for maximum output. Fresh food, whole food, real food (including high quality fats), that’s the stuff good brains are made of!
9. A Positive Sense of Self
Children with a positive sense of self have the determination to succeed no matter what. To understand who you are, to like yourself, and to feel loved unconditionally are powerful assets for a lifetime of greatness.
Which ingredient speaks to you the most?
Being ready to succeed at school is less about the knowledge that children bring with them to the classroom and more about their brain and body being wired for mastery. With this in place, there’s nothing holding them back!