Foundation Skills

No, I want to do it!”

Sound familiar? You can just picture it, can’t you? The furrowed brow, the jutted out jaw just overflowing with determination. After watching you pour their milk over and over and over again, little miss or mister has decided it’s their turn.

(Of course ‘pour their milk’ is interchangeable with ‘tie their laces’, ‘feed the dog’, ‘get dressed’ and all of the other daily activities they’ve suddenly decided to take the reins on!)

Part of the reason this is so important to junior is because they’re on a journey of development, to learn, practice, master and build on skills such as walking, talking, drawing and dressing themselves.

Foundation skills: little skills shape big futures!

With every activity, experience and opportunity, your child continues to learn and build a foundation for their further learning and development. Known as foundation skills, they’re the building blocks that your child will continue to expand on throughout their school life (and life life!).

As their name suggests, foundation skills are massively important for school-based tasks such as reading, writing and school sport. Most importantly, the foundation that little miss or mister sets between the ages of 3 and 6 will play a crucial role in their school readiness (whether they have the particular set of skills they’ll need for schoolwork) and how positive an experience they have at school.

But don’t worry! PlayBiz is here to help you to develop these essential foundation skills, so you can help your little one put their best foot forward towards a really happy, enjoyable and successful school life.

PlayBiz covers the following foundation skills, each with subsets....

  • Fine motor - (bilateral integration, crossing midline, hand strength and finger isolation)
  • Gross motor - (upper limb strength/stability, joint body awareness/proprioception, motor planning/coordination)
  • Visual perception - (scanning, memory, figure-ground, discrimination, spatial awareness, closure, motor integration)
  • Sensory processing 
  • Concentration 
  • Relaxation 

Build big skills

Handwriting: an example

What first pops to mind when you think of your school experience?

Most likely, it’s all the hours you spent copying from the blackboard, writing assignments, taking tests, doing your homework and so on.

Despite the tech invasion, handwriting is still such an everyday part of school life. Plus, there’s actually a lot more involved in writing, beyond simply holding a pencil and writing letters on a line.

For your youngster to be able to easily learn how to write well, all of the following foundation skills (building blocks for future learning) need to be developed and come together:

  • Pre-writing patterns – understanding the directions of top to bottom, left to right and anti-clockwise so they can form different letters correctly
  • Pre-writing shapes – knowing the shapes that form letters (e.g. circles, squares, lines)
  • Hand strength – having strong hand muscles so they can use the preferred ‘tripod’ (three-fingered) grip that’s needed to hold a pencil correctly and write with appropriate pencil pressure, control and speed
  • Upper limb strength and stability – having strength and control in the arms and shoulders to allow appropriate pencil control and pressure
  • Postural control – having good strength in their posture and being able to maintain an upright seated or standing position
  • Crossing midline – being able to move across their body with their eyes, arms or legs (e.g. using their dominant/preferred hand to cross over their body and write from left to right on the page)
  • Bilateral integration – using both hands and/or arms in coordination (e.g. one hand writing while their other hand holding the page)
  • Visual perceptual skills – using visual skills to enable them to recall letters, position the letters on the line and form letters correctly

That seems a lot, doesn't it, just for handwriting?

Never fear, PlayBiz is here to help! We’ve put together fun and engaging activities that will help build all of these crucial foundation skills (and more!) and set your whippersnapper on the right track.

No matter whether little miss or mister is gearing up for their school journey or already proudly holds the title of ‘student’, they’re bound to have fun and develop their skills with PlayBiz!

Best of all, every single one of PlayBiz’s activities and strategies are really practical and easy-to-use so they’ll fit right in to your everyday. Huzzah!

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