Thursday 23 March 2017

Supporting the youngest in the classroom

Sophie is the youngest in her kindy group, and will likely be the youngest in her school cohort next year. And while I don't have any plans to keep her back (once she finally started talking, learning things has been quick for her, thatnks to her siblings) I do worry a bit about how she will transition to school and cope with learning the skills required. So when I connected with Allison from Jack the Wombat, I asked her if she would help me out with some tips. And I'm guessing if they'll help me, they'll probably help someone else, too.

Supporting Kindy Kids At Home When They Are The Youngest In The Classroom

I wasn’t necessarily the most mature kid, funnily enough this is something that has seemed to have followed me into adulthood. So when I started kindy and was going to be one of the youngest kids in the classroom, obviously my parents were a little concerned. At five years old, was my lack of maturity, compared to that of kids almost a year older than me, going to place me at an academic disadvantage?

At the end of the day, someone is always going to be the youngest in the classroom, it is just a fact. It comes down to part luck and part cut-off date that makes it happen. If this is your child, no doubt you are experiencing similar concerns to my parents, and want to know how you can best help them succeed.

So did being one of the youngest in the class have a lasting impact on me or my academic performance? No, though at times it did pose its challenges.

These challenges will be different for each child, however there are some great ways that you can help support your child at home so they can succeed in the classroom even if they are the youngest!

Here are three of my favourite:

1. Reading to and with your child. 

Reading is a skill at the foundation of any schooling system. So what better way to support your child at preschool than to give them the skills they require to succeed! This is the easiest, simplest, and cheapest way to prepare your child for academic success.
Reading with your child has a number of benefits. These include, but are not limited, to:
  • Fostering a stronger relationship with you through the opportunity to cuddle, communicate, and bond.
  • A higher aptitude for learning. Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education.
  • Improved speech skills. By listening to you read, your child is mastering the basic sounds that form language.
  • Enhanced concentration. Your child will learn how to be settled while you read the book.
  • Most importantly a passion for reading! When you read with your child, it becomes an indulgence rather than a chore.

2. Create authentic learning experiences. 

Most families have a full schedule, and it can be hard to find time for that extra focus we want to have on academic success. So my tip is to use your everyday experience to create learning opportunities. For example, when cooking dinner you can ask your child to measure out ingredients to help with their math skills. You can also discuss the ingredients or finished product to help build their comprehension skills. How it tastes? What does smell like? How does it feel?

3. Talk about kindergarten. 

School can be scary, so it’s best to help your child become familiar with the idea of kindergarten. Build enthusiasm by acting excited and positive about what is to come. Encourage your child to tell you about their day. Asking questions about your child’s day will help to build cognitive skills, as well as provide you with an opportunity to gauge their development both emotionally and academically. 

How do you support your child at home? We would love to hear from you! 

Allison, creator of Jack the Wombat, is a mother and an early literacy advocate. She strongly believes early literacy is a critical building block for everyday life and future success. She also believes that learning to read and write needs to be fun, inspiring, and engaging. This is why she created Jack The Wombat. To help spark your child's imagination and fill their childhood with play, adventure, and inspired learning.
Find out more about her early literacy program today at

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