School Readiness How Do I Know

How do I know if my child is ready to start primary school?

Many of us can still recall our first few days and weeks at school, even if they happened a long, long time ago!

Starting school is a big deal and we all want our children to get off to the best possible beginning.

Most people who work with young children agree that being ready to start school is not really about being able to read, write, know your colours and count.

Here is what one Head Teacher says being ready to start school means. Children need to be able to:

  • Separate from their parent or carer
  • Listen, show interest and pay attention
  • Express themselves if they need something
  • Say something about what makes them who they are, such as their name, age and something about family or other things in their life
  • Interact with an adult and other children
  • Focus on and show interest in their work and the world around them
  • Notice things and ask questions
  • Hold a book and understand some of the story
  • Follow some basic instructions


The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years agreed. They said that:

“Skills such as reading and writing are not as important as children being confident, independent and curious.”

So, parents and carers have an important role to play in helping children get ready to settle into school.

Remember – everyone’s different!

It’s really important to remember that all children develop at different rates, so don’t expect your child to be able to get everything perfectly, all of the time.

Try not to worry too much about comparing your child to others. Instead try to build on their natural interests and skills, to develop their confidence, curiosity, and independence. Think about the things they can do already and where they might need some more practice.

How can I support my child through big changes?

Some ways to help your child deal with new things in their lives.

How can I support my child through big changes?

How do I know if my child is ready to start school?

The basic skills your child needs to have the best possible beginning at school.

How do I know if my child is ready to start school?

How can I help prepare my child for starting school?

Skills you can practice together at home to help the first few weeks go smoothly.

How can I help prepare my child for starting school?

How can I help my child learn?

Tips for encouraging your child’s curiosity, to help them learn in class and throughout their life.

How can I help my child learn?

How can I prepare myself?

There are several ways in which you can look after and find time for yourself.

How can I prepare myself?

Helpful links

More practical advice, resources and information for families about this big step.

Helpful links
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