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Communication & School Readiness

School Readiness

In pre-school and at home language is used to communicate with and to teach your child. When preparing your child for school, think about the classroom environment in which they will be learning. If your child has difficulties in understanding and using language, these may become more apparent when he/ she is in a busy classroom. You can help your child prepare for school by practicing skills for the classroom such as; following spoken instructions, listening, responding to questions, and telling their news.

By school age, children of 4½ to 5 years of age are expected to be able to manage the following language skills effectively:

Receptive Language - This refers to comprehension/ understanding. That is, the understanding of spoken and written language, such as following instructions and understanding a story.

A 4 ½ to 5 year old;

  • Follows three step directions independently, e.g. “Get your lunch, put your hat on and line up at the door”.

  • Understands concepts related to sequence, e.g. first, second, last, after.

  • Has an emerging understanding of the concepts of time, e.g. yesterday, tomorrow, days of the week and seasons.

  • Shows an interest in stories, books, letters and numbers.

  • Responds to what, where, who, when, how and why questions.

  • Identify the first sound in words.

Expressive Language - This refers to the ability to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a way that other people can understand. This includes using the correct words to convey meaning, as well as using appropriate sentence structure and grammar.

A 4 ½ to 5 year old;

Is understood by everyone; not only familiar people and family members. This is in terms of both speech sounds and word order in sentences.

  • Speaks clearly using these sounds correctly; s, z, f, sh, ch, j, y, l, m, n, p, b, k, g, h, t, d, w.

  • Uses sentences approximately six words which include the/a, prepositions (e.g. in, under, on) and appropriate grammar (e.g. pronouns - he/she/they etc.).

  • Explain how something familiar works or what something is used for.

  • Explains why something happened.

  • Attempts to draw and/or write to express their ideas or tell stories.

  • Categorises items into groups, e.g. cow, donkey, chicken…farm animals.

  • Asks questions using what, where, who, why, when and how.

  • Can retell a story or tell you about an event.

  • Follows a simple conversation.

Speech and language continues to develop throughout childhood and adolescence. However, a significant number of children (approximately 25%) start school every year with a language disorder or delay (Speech Pathology Australia, 2011). Effective Speech and Language skills play an important role in long-term academic and literacy success.

If you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0417 255 062.

Catherine Downs

Catherine Downs

Catherine Downs

Catherine Down is Platinum Pre School's preffered Speech Pathologist, she writes specifically tailored articles for the Platinum Newsletter and advises our staff on questions related to childhood speech development. Catherine is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP) with Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) and is an affiliate member of the American Speech - Language - Hearing Association (ASHA).

Catherine holds a BA in Psychology from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and a BAppSc of Speech Pathology from The University of Sydney. Catherine's qualifications and experience give her a unique set of skills for dealing with clients who are having communication, literacy and learning difficulties.

To find out more about Catherine's services or to book an appointment, please call Catherine on 0417 255 062 or visit her website -

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