What should my child know by the end of Grade-R?

8 Jul 2021

Research has shown that Early Childhood Education offers several benefits, such as language development, cognitive skills and social skills. 

While many schools and pre-schools offer Grade-R, the quality of their Grade-R programme is the determining factor on whether a child will develop the skills they require to build a solid academic foundation. 

SPARK Rosslyn Hub, Literacy teacher, Siphesihle, explains that Grade-R helps children easily transition to Grade-1. 

A study conducted by the University of Stellenbosch researchers on the impact of the introduction of Grade R on learning outcomes revealed that early childhood education could positively impact learning outcomes. However, this is dependent on the quality of the Grade-R programme. 

“Though Grade R cannot overcome deeply rooted economic problems and social pathologies, a quality programme can be a powerful equaliser to reduce disadvantages. Importantly, the evidence stresses that good quality ECD produces good outcomes, but weak provision could foster worrying outcomes such as aggressive behaviour and poor language development. Quality is key: a quality curriculum, a quality teacher, and a quality response to developmental needs,” the report reads. 


Therefore, when choosing a school for Grade-R,  it is crucial to know what the Grade-R programme offers to ensure that your child gets the most out of the programme. Here are some of the skills that your child should know by the end of Grade-R. 

Literacy skills

The introduction to literacy in Grade-R is essential for language development. Literacy helps to develop reading skills, which are crucial in building a solid academic foundation. By the end of Grade-R, your child should at least be able to know letter formations, reading, writing and have phonemic awareness. Developing these literacy skills in Grade-R will give your child an advantage when they get to Grade-1. However, if these skills are missed in Grade-R, this can create learning gaps, which for some children might take years to overcome. 

Numeracy skills 

In a recent article on our blog on how to make your child love maths, Numeracy Chair at the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Hamsa Venkatakrishnan, said. In contrast, in other countries, children learn basic numeracy skills from a young age; the same can’t be said for South African children.  

This means that unlike children in countries such as Singapore, who rank at the top in world rankings for  Mathematics, South African children start school far behind in mathematics. If not addressed early, these gaps continue to widen. 

Grade-R allows schools to bridge these gaps by introducing children to fundamental numeracy skills such as number formations, counting, understanding shapes and everyday use of numbers. 

Social-Emotional skills 

Not every school will incorporate social-emotional skills into their curriculum; however, if you find a school that does, especially in Grade-R, this will offer great benefits for your child. Social-Emotional skills help children learn how to advocate for themselves, collaborate with others and be accountable for their actions. 

At SPARK Schools in Grade-R, scholars learn how to engage with peers respectfully; they also learn to work with others through various activities, encouraging them to collaborate with their peers. These skills are crucial as they also help build confidence in young kids as teachers encourage them to have a voice and be independent. 

Knowing what your child will learn by the end of Grade-R is essential, as it will help you determine the school that will offer quality education for your child. As discussed in this article, the quality of the Grade-R programme’s quality will have a lasting impact on your child’s development and setting a solid academic foundation. 

If you’d like to know more about SPARK Schools Learning Model, please click here.