School Readiness – Foundation Skills

What are Foundation Skills?

The foundation skills are the skills that children need to have in place before they can begin to start learning to read
and write. Some of you may think these are things like knowing the alphabet, counting to ten or being able to
recognise words. In fact, the foundation skills cover fine and gross motor skills, speaking, seeing, and hearing skills
and competencies like giving things a go and being curious.

We’ve read and collated the latest research to come up with the Ready 4 Learning Foundation Skills, which we
divide into six areas:

  • Speaking
  • Moving
  • Seeing
  • Print
  • Hearing
  • Key Competencies

Why are they Important?

When a child is missing a foundation skill, like the core strength to sit upright, that can become a roadblock to further learning. For instance, Matua, might struggle to hold himself upright on a seat. He must think about sitting straight and maintaining balance, while his teacher is trying to teach a matching lesson. He quickly tires, flops over and stops paying attention. Sitting upright needs to be automatic, before he can give his full attention to what is being taught. Matua would be better off playing on the playground, which would build his core strength and enable him to get the most out of the matching lesson when he is ready.

When should my Child develop each Skill?

The foundation skills apply to children around 3 years and older. Children develop at different rates and in different areas, so where one child may be a great talker, they might struggle to see similarities and differences in objects, which will later apply to recognising the differences between letters in the alphabet. Another child may have great moving skills but may lack familiarity with books and print. They may not know the difference between a world and a letter. It’s important to build on areas that are less developed so that these don’t prove a roadblock to classroom learning.

How can I help my Child?

Our book, Ready 4 Learning, Ready 4 Life contains simple assessments to determine children’s readiness for school and it’s full of illustrated activities that can help to develop children’s areas of need.