Frequently Asked Questions
When should I start using the School Start Buddy with my child?
I recommend that you start using the School Start Buddy with your child when they are in preschool (4 years old). There are two main reasons why this is a great age to start using the School Start Buddy with your child.
The first is because most preschools expose children to letters and letter sounds with fun, hands-on activities. This stimulates an interest in learning about letters which makes it a fantastic time to take advantage your child’s curiosity.
Secondly, I am a huge advocate for children recognising the letters of the alphabet before beginning school. This is because, as a Reception teacher, I see the huge benefit of children starting school with this letter knowledge. They are able to learn early reading and writing skills at a far more rapid pace than those who come to school with little letter knowledge.
Preparing your child for school does not mean hours of work. The School Start Handbook (part of the School Start Buddy) explains a simple ten minute activity that you can do with your child once a week that will teach them letter recognition, learn letter sounds, and start to develop early reading skills. The best thing is that everything you need is within the case!
I have more than one child, should I buy a School Start Buddy for each of my children?
I recommend purchasing one School Start Buddy complete kit for $75, (which includes the School Start Handbook), and then purchase the School Start Buddy case (which does not include the Handbook) for $50 for your remaining children. This will allow you to work with your children at the same time.
I have had many parents purchase a School Start Buddy for their eldest child and make another purchase shortly after because a sibling has desperately wanted to ‘play’ with the School Start Buddy while they are using it with the eldest child.
My child is not interested in learning to read and write – how will the School Start Buddy help?
The resources inside the School Start Buddy cater for children who need extra support with reading and writing and for parents who are not sure how to help their child.
Children who do not like writing often lack the confidence to ‘have-a-go’ at writing. The whiteboard inside the School Start Buddy is brilliant for teaching young children to write because mistakes can easily be erased and this promotes confidence. The magnetic letters and sentence blocks allow children to learn foundational writing skills, like letter recognition and hearing sounds, in a fun and interactive way. All of these skills and activities are clearly explained in the School Start Handbook.
Reading is much more enjoyable for children if they are able to understand what they are reading and if they are ‘good’ at it. There are important steps that children need to work through when learning how to read. For example, if children are confidently able to recognise letters and blend letter sounds, then learning to read become considerably easier. These steps are clearly explained in the School Start Handbook.
It is important to understand how to listen to your child read and what sorts of strategies they should be using. For example, a common misconception amongst adults is that when children use the picture to help them read they are ‘cheating’. In fact this is false because using the picture encourages children to read for meaning. The School Start Handbook explains how to listen to your child read and simple activities that you can do with your child to teach them to comprehend what they read.