November Theme: Getting Ready for School

Week 1:

Constructive Play

Play skills are vital for success at school. Children learn so much about others and how to interact with the world around them through play. Play is an important skill for developing thinking and communication. Take time for constructive play. Constructive play helps your child develop skills and knowledge about stacking, building, and drawing. They can develop their fine motor and problem solving skills. Children who are comfortable manipulating objects, and trying out their ideas, often become resilient individuals who are happy to ‘give new things a go’. This increases their confidence in ‘trying out’ language and language concepts. Along with the usual toys such has blocks and Lego, why not create a ‘busy box’ to encourage construction. You can add recycled boxes, scissors, glue, glitter, stickers, pop stick, paint, playdough and chalk to your busy box. Take time to build something with your Little Person. Talk about what you are doing and how you are using the materials. When you’ve finished, let them proudly display what they have made.

Week 2:

Games with Rules

Play skills are vital for success at school. Children learn so much about others and how to interact with the world around them through play. Play is an important skill for developing thinking and communication. Playing games with rules is an important way for your child to begin to understand about social contracts and rules such as taking turns and playing fairly. Games with rules help children to understand the concept that the game of ‘life’ has rules that we need to follow to be productive and get along harmoniously. This knowledge is reinforced as your child becomes involved in sports. Take some time this week to play social games such as ‘Simon Says’, card games such as Uno or their favourite board game. Work on taking turns, waiting, and coping when she doesn’t win. Helping your child to be an encouraging winner and gracious looser is an important skill for integrating into the social structure of the school environment. Why not think about family games that may make a great addition to the Christmas stocking?

Week 3:

Social Play

Play skills are vital for success at school. As with all types of play, it takes time for children to develop social play skills. As parents and teachers, we need to support their social development through play interactions. When given the opportunity to mix with others, children learn social rules such as give and take, cooperation and sharing. They develop their thinking and language skills through joint problem solving and negotiation. Social play is vital for children to develop their moral reasoning and values. This week, why not schedule some time out with other parents. Get together and let the kids play. Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, when children get together they will find all sorts of different ways to play. Step back and let them negotiate and work out the rules of games together. Relax and have a coffee, and perhaps turn a blind eye to some of their messier adventures.

Week 4:

Role Play

What was your favourite role playing game as a child? Whether you were the ruler of the home corner or piloted space craft into the sandpit, your role playing taught you many invaluable skills. Role play allows children to try out new roles and characters, practise situations and experiment with language and emotions. This helps them to develop the all-important Theory of Mind, as they begin see life from the perspective of someone else. Through role playing we develop flexible thinking, learn to plan beyond the here and now, and stretch our imaginations. Along with this comes opportunity to use new words and try out different language. Our imaginative games allow us to create a risk-free environment to use our language to express thoughts, ideas, concepts and dreams. This week, take time to enter your child’s imaginative world. Why not introduce a role-playing game for the whole family? Any dinner time could become dinner in at a space station.  A trip to the shops could become a jungle adventure. Embrace your roles and have fun!

Written by Alison

Clinician

Newcastle Speech Pathology