Many children begin Grade 1 with an insufficient academic foundation. Dani Tannous, Founder and MD of Bright Beginnings Preschool explains that education in the foundation phase provides fundamental preparation for the school readiness requirements children need to be able to meet when they enter the primary school system.
“In school there is the academic aspect, such as phonics, blending letters, spelling, the mathematical concepts of addition and subtraction, skip counting, patterning and so on. If a child has never been exposed to the basics of those academic skills, their learning could be severely hindered. Hence the importance of either preparing your child adequately at home or sending them to preschool from an early age, it is in my opinion that a child should attend Preschool as early as possible and not wait until Grade R, my personal recommendation would be no later than Grade 0000, the benefits that a preschool adds to the foundation of the child’s education are immeasurable” explains Tannous.
From a cognitive perspective, preschool provides the necessary preparation for Grade One and lays a strong concrete foundation for the years to follow. Patterning, sequences, basic counting and developing the fine motor skills required to hold a pencil are only a few of the many skills that preschool helps to develop.
“The children who come to us in Grade R, or Grade 0 as it is also known, who have never been exposed to certain skills tend to struggle. We see a difference as they are not able to do and understand what their peers can. Children who have two or more years of preschool are better equipped for primary school as they have already developed a basic skill set that includes number recognition, cutting, drawing and tracing,” says Tannous.
According to Tannous, there is a long list of skills that children need to have mastered before Grade One.
The areas are:
Physical and Motor Development:
- Gross motor
- Fine motor
- Self care
Emotional and Social Development:
- Conflict resolution
- Expresses feelings appropriately
- Able to share
- Concentrate on a task for a considerable amount of time
- Works well in a group
- Independent decision making
- Follows instructions correctly
- Interest in learning
- Problem solving
- Understands basic mathematical concepts
- Communicate effectively
- Story comprehension
- Phonics, letter blending, sight words, letter and name recognition, basic writing skills
- going to the bathroom independently
- showing responsibility
- packing away and looking after their belongings
- a child needs to be able to separate from parent with ease in the morning
“I think ideally a child should start preschool in Grade 0000 when they are turning 3. Preschool provides the stimulation and engagement that a child needs to reach important milestones. If a child only starts preschool in Grade R, I would encourage their parents to provide learning and social opportunities in their home environment,” concludes Tannous.
For more information go to: https://brightbeginningsschool.co.za/