Extra support for your child to transition to school or kinder
Making friends, coping with routines and separating from primary care givers are just some of the many challenges that young children face when they transition to kindergarten or school. With so much to cope with it’s not surprising that some children have trouble with the transition, but there is help available.
Not for profit Windermere Child & family Services offers a range of programs designed to assist young children to develop and practice the skills that will prepare them for kindergarten or school in fun and supportive group-based settings. These programs cater particularly to children with a diagnosis or developmental delay.
The children who are supported by Windermere’s group programs include pre-schoolers with extreme separation anxiety, young children who are having trouble adjusting to structured routines or social situations and those who need support to develop fine and gross motor skills.
The group programs offer play based activities that incorporate opportunities to learn and practice skills in a fun, safe and supportive environment.
Windermere’s Ready for Routines program is aimed at children aged 3-4 who have additional needs and are transitioning to a structured 4 year old kindergarten environment.
“We set broad skill goals for every child such as sitting for mat time, following a structured routine, or developing fine motor skills,” says Sarah Chambers, Early Childhood Intervention Practitioner.
“We have had some great success stories. In one group we had a child with autism who had extreme difficulty separating from his mother. We supported him with strategies to manage his sensory needs, emotional regulation and transitional challenges while also supporting his mum. By the last group session he was engaging in play with the other children and having genuine fun with his peers,” says Sarah.
Windermere’s Ready, Set, School program is for kindergarten children who are starting mainstream school in the year the program is conducted. Children with additional needs are welcome.
The group sessions are designed to teach children social skills, fine and gross motor skills and enable them to follow structured routines. This also includes life skills such as turn taking, following behavioural expectations and building relationships with peers.
The Ready, Set, School sessions include a speech pathology and occupational therapy component to support the development of sound and letter links, writing names, recognising numbers and counting skills.
“We’ve seen some great outcomes for the children in the programs. Recently we had a kinder age child who was very intellectual and could read chapter books but was reluctant to complete certain classroom tasks. We found that by the end of the program he was able to express his feelings appropriately and was also ready to complete certain activities as he was emotionally prepared for it and had an understanding of expectations;” says Sarah.
Windermere’s Group Programs are run at locations across Melbourne’s south east, including Berwick, Warragul and Cranbourne. Parents are requested to attend the sessions in order to ensure they are able to continue working towards goals with their child at home.