You’ve got through another year of speech therapy. You’ve hopefully seen some progress, but that leap to Prep in 2017 can still be daunting.
The Australian Early Childhood Census reported that in 2015, 8.5% of prep-age children in Australia (4-6 years) were developmentally vulnerable in the areas of Communication and General Knowledge. That is, they had difficulties talking to others, understanding, and being understood. 6.5% of children in Australia were vulnerable in the areas of Language and Cognitive Skills – experiencing challenges in reading/writing and with numbers.
By the time a typically developing child turns 5, we have expected them to master a huge range of language skills. A typical child will add an incredible 5-9 words to their vocabularies every day between the ages of 1 and 6 years, accumulating a lexicon of approximately 5000 words. If a child’s language is developing at a slower rate, that can become a big a gap to fill. By 5 years of age, children can:
- Understand words for order, like first, next, and last.
- Understand words for time, like yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
- Follow longer directions, like “Put your pyjamas on, brush your teeth, and then pick out a book.”
- Follow classroom directions, like “Draw a circle on your paper around something you eat.”
- Hear and understands most of what is said at home and in school.
When speaking about speaking, your 5 year old should:
- Say most speech sounds in words, making errors on only the trickier sounds (e.g. l, r, th, ch)
- Name letters and numbers.
- Use sentences that have more than 1 action word, like jump, play, and get.
- Tell a short story.
- Keep a conversation going.
- Talk in different ways depending on the listener and place (e.g. use short sentences with younger children or talk louder outside than inside).
If these language skills are delayed, the classroom can be a challenging place. At The Glenleighden School, we provide a specialised environment and intensive program to help children develop the skills listed above, and make school a fun and enjoyable place, where we can learn, achieve and grow.
The Glenleighden School Early Childhood Program can be a stepping stone between Kindy and a mainstream classroom for those children who need extra support in Speech, Language and Communication. Small classes of 10-13 students, with a ratio of 1 student : 5 educators/assistants/therapists, allows students the individualised attention they need to achieve their own personal goals.
Throughout a school day, children will benefit from sessions with a Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Music Therapist and Physiotherapist, working on developmental areas such as core strength, fine and gross motor skills and social-emotional regulation. This multidisciplinary model of service prepares children for classrooms beyond Glenleighden.
Our fundraising team has worked hard this past year to create bursaries for families who need financial support to attend our school. We are also taking expression of interests for bus routes, to make our school more accessible for those who live further away. If you’d like to discuss your child’s needs and ongoing development heading into Prep feel free to give me a call on (07) 3378 8625 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Cathy Wilson is a Speech Pathologist with over 7 years experience working with children who have Speech and Language Disorders.
Cathy works in enrolments at The Glenleighden School after many years of working in the classroom with early childhood students.
She is passionate about supporting families to find the right choice for their children when planning educational and therapy supports.