Fit 4 School

Children need to be in good health to transition well into primary school

In NSW children can start Kindergarten in first term if they turn 5 by July 31st of that year. By law all children must be enrolled in school by their 6th birthday. Kindergarten enrolment begins around April the year before your child will start Kindergarten.

In order for your child to transition well into primary school, they need to be in good health. This checklist will help you as parents/carers consider a range of health and wellbeing issues and, if necessary, get help to maximise your child’s potential.

Healthy Kid’s Check

GPs offer a free Health Kids Check which is an assessment of a child’s physical health, general well-being and development, with the purpose of addressing any problems found. The Healthy Kids Check could be done by your doctor or a clinic nurse.

1.

Sight

Has your child had their vision screened with StEPS at preschool, by your GP for 4-yo health check, the School Health Nurse or your optometrist?

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

2. Hearing

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StEPS (Statewide Eyesight Preschooler Screening)

  • Free vision screening for 4 year old children
  • Designed to identify childhood vision problems which cannot be detected by observation, behaviour or family history
  • Identifies childhood vision problems early, during the critical developmental period, so treatment outcomes are optimised
  • Provides active follow-up for children identified with significant vision problems, avoids preventable vision impairment and blindness later in life by treating childhood vision problems early
  • State Government funded initiative

Contact:

Jennifer McKay - Northern NSW StEPS Area Coordinator

Phone: (02) 6620 2836

Email: jennifer.mckay@health.nsw.gov.au

Download a brochure:

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2.

Hearing

Does your child have signs of an ear infection?

  • Signs of cold (coughing, sore throat, runny nose)
  • Difficulty listening and hearing (saying ‘what!’ all the time), not paying attention
  • Crying, fever, irritable
  • Runny ears
  • Constant pulling of ears

Visit your doctor and have it checked

Progress to the next question in this section.

Can your child blow their nose? (Nose blowing is important to reduce the risk of glue ear or otitis media which affects hearing).

Progress to the next question in this section.

Teach them before they start school. If they have a cold, pack tissues or a handkerchief and encourage them to use at school.

Delays in speech and language development, as well as educational progress, can also be signs of hearing loss. Are you concerned about your child’s hearing?

Visit your Doctor or call your local Community Health Centre and ask for an appointment with an Audiometrist.

Links

Hearing

  • Delays in speech and language development, as well as educational progress, can also be signs of hearing loss
  • If you are concerned about your child’s hearing, first port of call is your DOCTOR, to check for an ear infection or other medical condition
  • Set the volume of portable music players at a moderate level

Why is taking care of kids’ ears so important?

  • Kids can understand their parents and friends better
  • Good hearing makes learning easier
  • If ears aren’t looked after properly, it can lead to hearing problems
  • Healthy Ears = Happy Kids!

What are the signs of an ear infection?

  • Signs of a cold (coughing, sore throat, runny nose)
  • Difficulty listening and hearing (saying ‘what!’ all the time), not paying attention
  • Crying, fever, irritable
  • Runny ears
  • Constant pulling of ears

What can I do to help my kids have healthy ears?

  • Get your kids’ ears checked regularly
  • Keep tobacco smoke away from your kids
  • Quit smoking if you’re pregnant
  • Breastfeed – it helps fight infection
  • Make sure your kids wash their face and hands regularly
  • Feed your kids healthy food like fruit and vegetables
  • Make sure your kids get all their vaccinations

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

3. Immunisation

3.

Immunisation

Is your child up to date with all vaccinations including 3½ to 4 year old immunisations?

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

4. Physical Activity

Check at what age vaccinations are due via this link:

Visit your Doctor or make an appointment to get your child immunised free at your local Community Health Centre or Child and Family Health Centre.

Links

4.

Physical Activity

Does your child get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day?

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

Fundamental Movement Skills

Does your child have at least a basic understanding of Fundamental Movement Skills?

(A group of gross motor skills that children will find useful at school for sport, dance and other activities which include throwing and catching a big soft ball, skipping and hopping)

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

5. Sun Safety

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For more information download the PDF:

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5.

Sun Safety

Does your child understand the need to protect against sun damage when outside (no hat no play etc) and act accordingly?

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

6. Healthy Eating

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Visit the website:

Sun Safety

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6.

Healthy Eating

Does your child eat a variety of foods from the 5 food groups (vegetables & fruit, breads & cereals, meat & alternatives, dairy & alternatives) and only limited junk food?

Progress to the next question in this section.

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Check out the following link:

Kids and Families: Healthy Eating

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Most primary schools in our district follow the Live Life Well @ School program which promotes healthy eating. Do you need some help with ideas on healthy school lunchboxes?

Check out this link:

Lunch box ideas

Progress to the next question in this section.

Does your child drink plain water rather than sweet drinks such as cordial and juice?

Progress to the next question in this section.

Check out this website:

Healthy Kids: Drinks

Are you concerned that your child may be overweight?

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

7. Speech

7.

Speech

Most young children with possible speech difficulties are identified at preschool and referred to speech pathologists at Community Health or Child & Family Health.

Are you concerned that your child’s speech isn’t clear and easy for you and/or others to understand? (and you haven’t already been referred to a speech therapist).

Links

School Readiness: Speech and Language

Starting school, your child should be able to:

    • Have clear, intelligible speech. Many children can produce all sounds accurately. Some may still be learning to use some older developing sounds such as “r”, “th” and clusters e.g. “str”
    • Use long, complex, grammatically correct sentences
    • Be able to recount a personal experience in a logical sequence
    • Talk fluently without stuttering – stuttering is not a normal developmental phenomenon
    • Understand most questions, instructions and sentences that you give to them. e.g. Responds appropriately to questions such as Who? Whats that for? Where?
    • Asks questions e.g. Who? What's that for? When? Why? How?
    • Have a well developed vocabulary
    • Have a clear normal sounding voice
    • Listen and understand what is said to them
    • Use their language effectively to communicate with other children and adults
    • Be familiar with books and play with words they say e.g. rhymes

If you have concerns, call your local community health centre and ask for an appointment with a speech pathologist

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

8. Family Support

8.

Family Support

Are you concerned that your family is going through difficult times and that this is impacting on your child?

Every family needs some support every now and then to assist with coping with life in a modern family.

There are a lot of help and options available to help families experiencing a variety of difficulties or problems.

Link:  Be You

Positive Parenting Tips to Reduce Family Stress

Parenting is very rewarding but it’s not always easy. These five easy to implement parenting tips can help reduce stress and increase the rewards for parents and kids too.

  1. Count to ten and take some deep breaths. This tip is for those critical moments when you’re ready to pull your hair out or scream. This countdown is for you. Count ten seconds to calm down and regroup, to avoid losing your cool with your children and family.
  2. Find a solution to a recurring problem. We all have them – those recurring problems where we feel like we see and say the same things over every day. It’s time to find a solution and move on to the next issue. If it is hoards of shoes around the door, buy a shoe rack and make ‘a shoes here only’ rule. If the problem is using too much shampoo, invest in a travel size bottle for your child to use until they learn to manage how much they use. If the problem is lost library books, pull out a basket and make this the only place for storing library books. If you’ve said it more than three times, it is time to find a solution.
  3. Recognise the strengths in your child. Make a list in your head of all the things your child is good at, whether it is maths, saying ‘thank you’ or remembering to brush their teeth. If we start thinking it’s all bad, our kids will start thinking this about themselves too.
  4. Catch them being good and put it in writing. We really don’t enjoy the nagging and let’s face it, neither to they. In order for our kids to not tune us out, they’ll have to hear some praise from us too. Let them know what you appreciate, whether it is helping a sibling with her coat or waiting patiently while you finish a phone call. At times, put your praise in writing too.
  5. Take time for you everyday. Take time for yourself every day whether it’s an exercise class, a cup of tea or time to read. Let your kids know what you expect from them during ‘me’ time and why it’s important to you. With little ones this can seem impossible but take advantage of their naptime. Yes, there’s laundry, bills and dinner to attend to but you deserve and need some time for you, too. You’ll accomplish more and enjoy it all more after you’ve had some time to recharge. If we don’t fill our own cups, we have little to give to others.

The following organisations can assist families to get the support they need:

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

9. Social and Emotional

9.

Social and Emotional

Does your child socialise well with other children their age?

  • Can they take turns?
  • Can they identify feelings (sadness, anger etc.)?
  • Can use the toilet?
  • Can sit still and listen?
  • Can understand rules?
  • Can separate from parents/carers?
  • Focus on tasks for a few minutes e.g. a story?
  • Separate from parents/carers?
  • Cope with moving onto new activities easily?

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

10. Head Lice

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Links:

Is your child ready to start school?

The most important areas to consider when deciding if your child is ready to start school are your child’s social and emotional development.

Other areas of development to consider are your child’s:

  • Language skills e.g. ability to follow a teacher’s instructions and communicate their need
  • Motor coordination e.g. unwrap their lunch, cut with scissors and draw with a pencil
  • Independence skills e.g. manage the toilet, dress and undress and follow a classroom routine
  • Thinking skills e.g. recognising numbers, participates in imaginative play
  • Physical health and wellbeing e.g. children with a physical disability of chronic illness may need additional support when commencing school

If you still have concerns, contact your local Child & Family Health Centre.

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10.

Head Lice

Have you checked your child’s head for head lice (nits)?

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

11. Teeth

Check out this link:

Treatment for Head Lice

11.

Teeth

Are you assisting your child to brush their teeth?

  • Continue to assist your child to brush their teeth twice a day until age 8-10 years.
  • Spit don’t rinse after brushing, using a fluoride toothpaste recommended for their age.
  • Teeth are important for eating, speaking and smiling, make toothbrushing a family habit and chose water as the main drink.

Progress to the next question in this section.

  • Decay can develop very quickly in children. They do not have the manual skills to do a thorough brush themselves.
  • Assist your child to brush their teeth twice a day until age 8-10 years.
  • Spit don’t rinse after brushing, using a fluoride toothpaste recommended for their age.
  • Teeth are important for eating, speaking and smiling, make toothbrushing a family habit and chose water as the main drink.

Progress to the next question in this section.

Has your child had a recent check up with a dentist?

  • Decay can develop very quickly in children, continue with 6 monthly check ups with your family dentist or free public health dental clinic Tel: 1300 651 625
  • Limit your child to eating only 5 times a day. 3 meals and 2 healthy snacks.
  • Avoid packaged, sugary snacks and drinks.

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

12. School Readiness

teeth

  • Decay can develop very quickly in children, take children for a dental check up every 6 months from the age of 1 year. Visit your family dentist or free public health dental clinic Tel: 1300 651 625
  • Encourage a healthy, positive attitude towards dental visits.
  • Limit your child to eating only 5 times a day. 3 meals and 2 healthy snacks.
  • Avoid packaged, sugary snacks and drinks.

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Dental Poster

12.

School Readiness

Does your child have good motor skills for their age?

  • Can they use a knife, fork and spoon skilfully?
  • Can they dress themselves with little assistance?
  • Can they eat, brush teeth, comb hair, wash, dress, hang up clothes with prompting?
  • Can they ride a tricycle skilfully?
  • Can they cut on a line with scissors?
  • Can they run, skip and tumble?
  • Can they learn to ride bike, swim or skate?
  • Can they form recognisable shapes and objects out of clay or play dough?
  • Can they thread small beads on a string?
  • Can they catch, bounce, and throw a ball easily?
  • Do they like to tumble, turn somersaults and climb?

Progress to the next item in the checklist:

13. Asthma, Allergies and Other Medical Conditions

Link:

Role of Occupational Therapy in School Readiness

Call your local GP or Community Health Centre and ask for an appointment with an Occupational Therapist.

13.

Asthma, Allergies etc

Does your child have asthma, an allergy or other medical condition or is required to take medication at school?

If you answered yes to any of these, you should discuss this with the school before or at enrolment so the school understands how they can best support your child.

Check out this link:

Asthma

Great, looks like your child is Fit 4 School.

Don’t forget to follow up on any health issues you have identified.

Click on the following link if you want a pdf of this health checklist.

Fit 4 School Health Checklist

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