What a relief it was, having applied on time for my daughter’s montessori admission. I was pretty confident that she will ultimately be shortlisted in a top-notch institution and that we’d be called for a lenient interview.
But I realize how naïve I was in retrospect. Soon after registering her and taking a deep breath, I found out in one of those fretful mommies’ swap gossip sessions, how vigorously parents were preparing their children for school admission tests according to their age group.
Once again, I turned to Nanny Google and the parents I knew with their kids in various schools for help. And once again, soon I found myself buried deep under a TON of information. I realized that not only would I have to prepare my child but my husband and I would also have to arm ourselves appropriately because your first interaction with a school is nothing short of a job or visa interview!
We were going to be judged for everything we said. EVERYTHING! And how we said it. From a mother’s pregnancy (I would still like someone to tell me how this is even relevant!) to how the parents spend time with their child…all that matters.
I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare my child and so I decided not to give tuitions a chance. It isn’t easy settling a pre-schooler in a new environment and I didn’t have any time to waste as it is. So I folded up my sleeves, gathered all the material I could lay my hands on and started with fingers crossed, praying that my little one and my older child (hubby dearest) wouldn’t ditch me on the ‘BIG DAY’.
I went on online discussion forums and searched for FAQs in school admission interviews so that my husband and I would be on the same page that day. Mark my words…it is ESSENTIAL for parents to appear synchronized and connected at school interviews.
As for my daughter, I made her practice well up to the day of the test:
- Colours, shapes and patterns
- Identification and naming of basic shapes (circle, oval, square, rectangle and triangle).
- Identification and naming of primary colours (red, yellow, blue) and also some secondary ones as a perk (like green, orange, purple, black and white).
- Recognition of visual patterns like differentiating between a zebra and a tiger’s stripes; checks and solids; glitter and plain.
- Picture reading and memory assessment.
- Recognition of some basic phonics and ability to write them.
- Verbal skills – spoken English, ability to form at least three-word sentences
- Classification and sorting of objects according to size, shape and quantity.
- Counting 1-10 verbally as well as some writing also.
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Pencil grip – with the fore finger and thumb.
- Basic (and supervised) use of scissors, glue, paint, building blocks, tracing, assembling puzzles, bouncing a ball.
- Behaviour and personal hygiene
- Basic etiquettes, greetings, manners and friendliness.
- Covering the mouth when sneezing and coughing and saying “Excuse me”, cleaning up after oneself, how to dress and undress, how to manage bathroom needs (age appropriate of course).
- Being able to focus, ability to follow directions and self-governance.
- Knowledge of body parts, professions, actions, fruits and vegetables.
- Knowledge of personal details, like saying and writing their name as well as the parent’s name.
- Basic know-how of family structure, relations, age, school’s name and so forth.
These are some of the basic things I taught my child before the school test. Hope they help you and if YOU have any tips add them in the comments!