Is your child ready to start school next year?
Now is the time for parents to make the all-important decision to enrol their child in kindergarten or wait another year.
A child can start kindy if they turn five on or before July 31 in that year, so a 4½-year-old could be in the same class as a six-year-old.
That gap can leave parents wondering if their child will be academically or socially ready.
Kellyville Public School assistant principal Joal Bowman said children are not expected to know anything academically but they are expected to be independent.
"We teach them to read and write at school but children need to be able to go to the toilet by themselves," he said.
"They should know how to dress, open a lunchbox and eat by themselves, follow instructions and be able to pack their backpack."
Mr Bowman said interacting with other children can build up social skills.
"They should practise being away from the parents for a while in preparation for the long school day," he said.
"It's important to talk positively about coming to school and making new friends."
Reasons for holding a child back include lack of attention or interest in sitting still for a period of time.
"If a child has a lot of separation anxiety and cries for hours when away from parents, then they're not ready for school," Mr Bowman said.
Concerned parents can also talk to their child's preschool or daycare teacher and ask their school of choice.
Enrolment for public, Anglican, Catholic and other private schools varies greatly but most accept enrolments throughout the year, depending on availability.
The Department of Education website has a free downloadable booklet called Getting Ready for School with information for parents, go to www.det.nsw.edu.au and click on the parents link then on ‘‘going to primary school’’.
There are simple things parents can do with their children to ensure their transition to school is as smooth as possible:
● Set up a play date for your child to play with a friend.
● Check out the local library and let your child choose books to borrow.
● Take a ball to a park to throw, catch and kick together.
● Organise a picnic with a packed lunch and encourage your child to open it and eat the food by themselves.
● Show them how to cut and paste pictures from a magazine and how to draw pictures.
● Let your child practice drinking from a bubbler.
● If you have a son, use opportunities when you’re out to teach him to use a urinal.
● Practice writing alphabet letters.
● Teach them to put on their school shoes and walk in them.
● Help them practice dressing in their school uniform.