During the early years, children experience some of their most significant learning. Long before they reach formal education, they begin developing skills essential for life.
One of the best ways for under 5s to prepare for ‘big school’ is through a School Readiness Program at an early learning centre like Kids Club.
Today, we will explore the importance of school readiness for preschool children, the benefits of school readiness programs and effective ways to engage children using fun, educational games and activities, in both indoor and outdoor environments!
Understanding the Importance of School Readiness Programs
So, what is school readiness, and why is it important for preschoolers ahead of their first school year at school?
As it sounds, school readiness is about preparing children for their formative primary school years. It helps your child develop the skills they need to thrive in a primary school environment – and beyond – and develop a life-long appreciation of learning.
An effective School Readiness program considers the key skills children require to successfully transition to full-time schooling – academic, physical, social and emotional.
School readiness works on a continuous cycle throughout the preschool years. Early Childhood Teachers and Educators provide the children with learning experiences which facilitate the fundamental skills which benefit the children throughout their early schooling
journey, including skills in language, literacy and numeracy, physical development and STEM. By developing these academic, physical, social and emotional skills ahead of school, children can seamlessly transition into formal education with confidence and ease, ready to hit the ground running the moment they start.
The Benefits of Educational Games for School Readiness
In the Early Childhood Education setting, children learn so much from engaging play with other children and their Educators. Using educational games can be incredibly beneficial for preschoolers – and here’s why:
Improved Social and Emotional Skills
Playing educational games improves children’s social skills, encouraging accountability, cooperation, confidence, friendship, listening and sharing.
Respect for themselves – and others
Through social play with other children and adults, children learn to respect themselves and those around them, capable of building positive relationships.
Better Primary School Performance
Using educational games in the preschool setting equips children with skills for life, which includes critical thinking, vocabulary and grammar and teamwork just to name a few!
Improved Focus and Attention Span
Games that promote listening, direction-following, participation and independent thinking help children to develop vital concentration skills.
Enthusiasm for Lifelong Learning
When children connect a fun game with learning, they understand learning is fun! This activity allows them to develop an interest in learning through their primary school years and into adulthood.
12 Best Games and Activities for Effective School Readiness
Learning through play is a well-established method used in childcare and early learning sector to educate young minds. It’s no different at Kids Club, where play-based activities support our school readiness program.
In addition to free play and spontaneous learning, when preschoolers use their autonomy, independence and creativity to express themselves, our centres use a variety of educational
games where the Educator, child and others in their classroom work together towards an objective. Through educational games, children develop their literacy, numeracy, physical, social and emotional skills.
Here are some of our favourite educational games for school readiness – and the good news is, children can do these at home with their families too!
1. Card Games: Using cards to play games like “Snap”, ”Memory”, or “Go Fish”, children use hand and finger muscles to hold the cards – great for fine-motor skills and physical development – and learn how to take turns, recognise patterns and more!
2. Legos & Blocks: Building structures using blocks and Lego strengthens the muscles in children’s hands, which are useful when the time comes to learn handwriting.
3. Reading stories: Long before learning to read comes listening – and all children love hearing a story! Read a story to a child and have them repeat the story back to you, encouraging their listening skills and memory recall.
4. Sing nursery rhymes: Using rhythm and words that rhyme help children predict what comes next. It’s also a helpful game when learning to write and teaching children about phonics. Besides, rhyming is fun, and any fun activity makes learning all the better!
5. Make Play-Dough: Making your own play-dough is great for strengthening the muscles of little hands, which soon after will be used to hold a pencil. Go one better and make your DIY play-dough into a zoo! Here’s how to make it!
6. Build an obstacle course: Create a course for the children to complete, with climbing steps, hoops, a mini beam and a ball. Completing the course builds confidence and encourages them to think about ‘what comes next’ as they move from one obstacle to the next.
7. Draw me… a sheep!: Drawing games are easy and fun! And you don’t need to limit your drawing to paper! Have a child draw a sheep high on the outdoor wall to strengthen upper body muscles. Draw a circuit for cars on a path using chalk, or write your family member’s name in sand using a stick.
8. Bake cookies or cook a pie: Baking develops your child’s independence and motricity skills as they open containers and mix the ingredients. Then, when it’s cooked, share the cookies or pie among four people and learn about division. Most of all, enjoy eating your baked treat together!
9. Dress up and dramatic play: Organise a costumed party for your child and their friends. Playing dress-ups encourages independence and creativity and familiarises children with colours, textures and fastenings.
10. Puzzles: Engage in a puzzle to develop a child’s problem-solving skills. Grouping and matching are foundational number skills, making this a great educational activity ahead of school.
11. Play dice and counters: There are many benefits to playing dice or counter games, such as developing fine-motor skills, numeracy, and taking turns.
12. Ball games: Playing with a ball is excellent for developing gross motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It is also an effective way of teaching resilience as children learn they won’t always win.
With multiple benefits of school readiness in preparing children for primary school, a School Readiness program can make a significant difference to your child’s learning journey.
Using educational games helps develop various academic, physical, social and emotional skills, ensuring children have the best start possible in primary school.
Want to know more about the Kids Club School Readiness program?
Visit our School Readiness page for more information about our School Readiness program.
Or book a tour now of your closest Kids Club Early Learning Centre – click here to find your closest one!
If you want to learn more, call Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres or book a tour now of your closest Kids Club Early Learning Centre, click here to view your closest Centre.
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