Starting primary school is a very exciting time! However, a child faces massive changes to their little world, which can be quite overwhelming for them.

Starting school is a big step for little ones, and to put it into prospective, think about the feelings you have when starting a new job, or going to an event where you know no one. 

Well, it’s even harder for children, as they are still developing their interpersonal skills.

Don’t panic just yet!

We have some information here to get you and your little one prepared.


What does ‘school readiness’ even mean?

You might have heard of the term ‘school readiness’ quite a bit lately, but WHAT does it actually mean?

Things like…school shoes: check. uniform: check. Are totally necessary things to have for starting school however, this is not what it means to be ‘school ready’.

‘School readiness’ is a measure of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that enable children to participate and succeed in school. 

As parents we can sometimes think that school readiness means being able to read, write and have basic math skills before starting school. But this is NOT the case!

How can you tell if they are school ready?

Now lets look at the different skills and behaviours you can support, to help your child to have the best start possible.

One thing to remember is that every child develops at their own pace, with their own interests, strengths and approaches to learning. 

So DON’T worry if your child isn’t demonstrating all of the skills listed below.

If you are concerned with your child’s development, have a chat with their early learning educator or your GP, and they can provide you with advice.

Social Skills

  • Being able to get along with other children
  • Demonstrate basic manners
  • Be able to play with others as well as independently

Emotional Skills

  • Be able to follow directions and instructions from teachers
  • Can focus on tasks
  • Able to cope with minimal adult contact in large groups
  • Being able to manage their emotions

Language Skills

  • Being able to talk and listen to adults and other children
  • Can speak clearly
  • Communicate their needs
  • Begin to identify some letters and sounds

Cognitive Skills

  • Basic number skills
  • Basic thinking skills
  • Able to wait and take turns

Physical Health and Coordination

  • Fine motor skills – being able to grip a pencil, and turn pages in a book
  • Gross motor skills – being able to run, jump and climb


  • Can independently go to the toilet, dress themselves and manage their belongings


What can you do to help?

Want to delve deeper with some easy things you can do to help your little one get ready for starting school? Grab a copy of our ‘Getting School Ready Checklist’ for a comprehensive overview of your child’s skills. Plus find our tips for how you can support your child’s development.

Nicole is a mum of two girls aged 5 and 3, made to order cook, cleaner, crafts organiser and family budget manager. In between cups of coffee, you will usually find her assisting a toddler with the toilet, cleaning food scraps off the floor and basically trying to keep her mini-me’s alive. She knows all too well that if you don’t keep them busy they will find their own busy-ness, by doing something mischievous!

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