The School Readiness and Fit for School Project

A Guide for Parents - A Project over Time

How parents can help their children to master the many movement and mental tasks that are needed for the classroom and playground.  


The Aims of the School Readiness and Fit for School Project 
Most young children find the demands and challenges of presented by a day at school easy to manage. But there are always some children who do not find school easy and have difficulties with the one or more of the many routines and tasks they encounter. This is particularly true for children who were preemies, had delays in attaining their early milestones, who have an anxious, have a highly sensitive nature, have sensory issues, have "low muscle tone" are hypermobile or on the autistic spectrum. 

The first aim of the Ready and Fit for School Guide is to help parent to understand why and how children experience difficulties with school tasks and routines, in particular those that have a strong movement component (sitting on the floor or working at a table, hand tasks, drawing and handwriting, cutting with scissors and so on). 

Understanding why and how children find tasks difficult is the first step, the next step is to provide opportunities for improving task performance.  So the second aim of the Fit for School guide is to provide suggestions for task training, addressing both the mental and movement  aspects of task performance. 

Step One:  A Checklist 

Checklist are useful in identifying a child's strengths and weaknesses. So I start of by listing the many movement related tasks that children need to master during the first two years at school. 

Step Two: More About Each Task - With Training Ideas
This is the part that will grow over time. Follow on Facebook for updates

The SfA School Readiness and Fit for School Checklist 

Here is a list of the many movement and mental tasks and challenges children encounter in the classroom. Click on the links for more information.  

Self care activities 

Over the course of the first year or two years of formal school (reception class and grade one) young children are expected to be able to look after themselves, including the following tasks: 

  • Take off outdoor clothing, hang it on the right hook
  • Put their schoolbag in the right cubicle 
  • Request permission to go to the bathroom 
  • Use the bathroom without assistance 
  • Eat their snack (sandwich and fruit)  in a timely manner 
  • Take off and put shoes and socks 
  • Change for PE - in a timely manner 

Classroom activities 

Over the course of the reception year young children are expected to learn to perform the following tasks with increasing levels of proficiency: 

► Stand and wait  in line, minding their own own business, be relatively quiet, and listen to and follow instructions

► Sit quietly on a mat for morning ring, story time and other group activities, minding their own business, and pay attention to the teacher, wait their turn and respond when spoken to. 

► Comfortably sit at a table for table-top work for 15-20 minutes (drawing, writing, cutting with scissors, doing puzzles). Read more 

► Use a pencil (marker crayon)  effectively to draw long and short straight and curved lines and write letters

► Cut out with a scissors - following straight and curved lines 

► Play reception class  sorting, matching, pegboard, board and card games.

Mental abilities

The following mental abilities are important for successfully performing  the many tasks young children engage in during the school day. 

  • Listen to, remember and carry out instructions 
  • Ask for help 
  • Stay focussed on a task 
  • Mind their own business 
  • Take turns and wait for their  turn 
  • Co-operate with classmates to do a task 

Playground and PE activities 

Young children need to following basic gross motor abilities to fully participate in outdoor (recess) and PE activities: 

  • Ball skills - catch, throw and kick a ball at an age appropriate level of competence. Read more 
  • Balance skills - stand on one leg, walk on a beam. 
  • Keep up with peers in running activities 
  • Climb on the climbing frame, go across the  monkey bars and come down the fireman's pole
  • General strength, flexibility fitness tasks

Have I left out any important tasks or activities?  

Do you have questions,or suggestions about this list? 

Join the Ready and Fit for School Facebook group for updates and to post your ideas, suggestions and questions   

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