Kid-Eze Therapy Services

Preparing your Preschooler for School

We often see preschool children with parents that have questions about whether or not their child is ‘ready for school’.  At Kid-Eze Therapy Services our occupational therapists are able to assist preschoolers in a number of areas to help them to become ready for starting school.  We can also see children individually for short, intensive blocks of therapy to better prepare them for school.

Some skills that are useful for starting school

  • Organising self and belongings (e.g. bag, pencils).
  • Sitting at a table.
  • Asking for help.
  • Moving smoothly between tasks.
  • Maintaining attention.
  • Following directions (including initiating, problem solving and completing a task).
  • Toileting (including managing clothing and washing/drying hands).
  • Cutting with scissors.
  • Playground skills: throwing and catching, jumping, climbing.
  • Playing with peers and participating in group activities.
  • Managing clothing (e.g. buttons, zips, shoes, socks, jumper).
  • Recognising and perhaps writing first name.
  • Labelling common colours, shapes, and numbers.
  • Eating (e.g. scooping with a spoon, managing lunchbox / plastic wrap / packets / drink bottle).

Some tips to help your child become ‘school ready’

  • Develop routines in ‘tidying up’: label belongings and teach the child that everything has a place.
  • Allow your child to sit in ‘good sized furniture’; if the child’s feet don’t reach the floor, support them on a box.
  • Rather than giving the answer, try prompting questions to help your child to problem solve e.g. “What is happening?” “What else could you try?”
  • Make cutting easier by cutting straws, cardboard, playdough and thicker textures of paper.
  • Playing with tongs, tweezers and spray bottles will develop a similar action required for scissors.
  • Practice throwing and catching with balloons or scarves.
  • Become familiar with playgrounds, the different pieces of equipment and the different ways to play on these (can you visit the school playground after school or on the weekends?)
  • Have fun dressing teddies/dolls or playing ‘dress ups’.  Oversized clothes can be easier.  Include large buttons and a toggle on zippers if needed.
  • Use short crayons and chalk, and wide pencils and paint brushes to encourage a functional grip.
  • Try stencils, mazes, rubbings, and tracing activities to work on pencil skills.  Also try and be creative with drawing and writing mediums e.g. stick in sand, finger in shaving foam, water on a brick wall.
  • Explore ‘print in the community’ (e.g. logos, street signs, labels).
  • Keep a ‘Memory Book’ of trips/experiences that include photos, drawings, tickets, ‘writing’/scribed explanations.
  • Have paper names that the child can glue onto their work.
  • When spending time with books, reinforce print is read left to right and top to bottom by using your finger to follow the words as you read.
  • Keep toys in zip lock bags and jars to allow natural practice of finger skills.