Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A parent's guide for children aged 0-4
School readiness

School readiness

Is my child ready for school?

The phrase 'readiness for school', seems to be cropping up all over the place. Part of the problem is that there is no clear definition of the term, and it can be difficult for parents to understand what their child will be expected to know and do. School readiness is more than just about children. It involves children, families, early environments (like nurseries and playgroups), schools and communities.

The earliest years in a child's life provide the foundation for everything that follows. We must all make sure that children are supported and encouraged to achieve their full potential as inquisitive, confident and secure individuals. This isn’t just about making sure they can hold a pencil - children need the resilience, confidence and personal skills to be able to learn. If children lack the tools to benefit from education before they even get to the school gate it makes their chances of learning more difficult.

The key areas are: personal, social and emotional development, physical development and communication and language.

If you are worried about aspects of your your child's development chat to your local children's centre or your health visitor.

Teacher's tip

Teacher's tip

One helpful pre-school activity that parents can practice is giving their children the opportunity to listen to and learn language through story telling. One of the best ways to prepare children for school is to read to them. Not only does story reading offer a one-to-one quiet time, it helps develop children's listening and language skills.

If you want to improve reading skills, there are lots of opportunities. There are adult learning courses, find out more from your local children’s centre.

Basic skills like toilet training, communications skills, being able to understand and follow simple tasks, taking turns and having some social skills all prepare a child to be ready for learning. Teachers and classroom assistants are then freed up to teach rather than spend time toileting, feeding children and helping them with the most basic social skills.

How can I get my child school ready?

  • Make sure they are toilet trained.

  • Help them understand how to follow simple tasks.

  • Help them to answer to their name.

  • Encourage them to share and understand turn-taking.


My child seems to have no friends and makes no effort at nursery to mix with other children.


Closeness between parent and child, combined with consistent rules, are most likely to lead to children doing well and becoming more social.


Do not panic. Invite one or two children over for tea with their parents. Chat to your health visitor or local children’s centre.