A Practical Guide to School Readiness


A Practical School Readiness Guide


This information sheet from The Centre for Community Child Health provides parents and carers with facts they need to consider when thinking about whether their children are ready for school.

The education system sets an age when your child should start school; this varies slightly between systems and states across Australia. Age is usually the first consideration for parents when making a decision about when their child will start school. You may have some concerns about whether your child is ready to start school even if they are the “right” age. There is an eleven-month difference between the youngest eligible child and the child that just misses the cut off date.

To make a decision about school readiness, you may want to consider:

  • Language skills: communication is used to engage with and teach your child. A child needs to be able to follow instructions and understand what teachers are saying, as well as being able to communicate well with teachers and the other students.
  • Physical well-being: a child who has a disability or a chronic illness may have difficulty with some aspects of school. This does not automatically mean they are not ready for school but any physical or functional limitations need to be considered.
  • Motor co-ordination and skills: a child needs

Co-ordination skills to allow them to dress and undress, unwrap lunch, use a pencil and scissors, and participate in other activities that require eye hand and motor


  • Concentration and emotional adjustment: a child needs to be able to socialise and play with their classmates. They also need to be able to deal with the structured nature of a more formal learning environment, such as being able to focus on tasks, follow directions and instructions from teachers, cope with transitions, and understand the rules.
  • Independence: a child needs a range of skills so that they can cope with minimum adult supervision. This includes going to the toilet by themselves, dressing, and being able to follow a structured classroom routine.

Some simple activities that you can do to help your child get ready for school are listed below:

  • Read to your child and use books as a pleasurable daily shared activity.
  • Make everyday things an exploration of language – ask the child questions, listen carefully to their answers, and encourage the child to ask why.
  • Encourage the child’s natural curiosity – do different things with them, encourage them to try different ways of doing things. Make a walk in the park a nature tour.