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Supporting Your Child To Be Ready For School

Getting ready to start school

Children are interested in all sorts of things and enjoy learning and exploring. Starting school is a big moment for children and you as their parents or carers.

You could watch and read some books and videos about starting school.


Time for School


Starting School by Janet and Allen Ahlberg


Topsy and Tim's First day at School


Lots of activities and ideas here

and here


Tips for parents and carers

A child’s first day at school, is a big moment for you and for them and it can be both an exciting and nervous time.

With so much information and lots to prepare for, being in a routine and helping them to get plenty of sleep will help them.

Here are some other ways you can give your child help and encouragement to help them be ready for school.

Speaking and listening

To help make sure your child can:

  • use words, objects or gestures to help them explain what they need to a grown-up
  • listen to and follow instructions
  • sit and listen for a short while, for example to a story
  • tell you when they are hungry, tired or need the toilet

You can:

  • chat with your child when you're out on a walk - talk about what you can see and give them time to chat to you back in a way they are comfortable with
  • listen to your child's questions and help them to answer them
  • talk to them about things you are doing to help them learn and give them time to ask and answer questions
  • provide opportunities for chatting, playing and interacting together
  • spend time together reading, telling stories or singing songs
  • allow opportunities to play, create imagination and build curiosity

Independence skills

To help make sure your child can:

  • put on their coat, fasten it, take it off and hang it up
  • wash and dry their hands by themselves
  • go to the toilet by themselves
  • use a knife and fork to feed themselves
  • drink from a cup
  •  Change into their PE kit and back into their school schools independently.

You can:

  • check that your child can undo and do up their clothes. Give them time to practice this
  • show and give your child simple instructions so that they are able to learn how to do these things and give them the time to practice
  • encourage your child to use the toilet so that they are able to go on their own
  • make it fun for your child to practice doing these things and give lots of encouragement and praise
  • sit down and eat meals with your child, encouraging them to taste a variety of healthier foods

Interacting with others

To help make sure your child can:

  • choose the toys they wish to play with and make up ideas of games to play or things to do
  • watch what other children and doing and join in playing with them
  • feel comfortable when you are not around and can communicate with other grown-ups and children

You can:

  • play listening games together, for example Simon Says
  • help your child to use some of their toys to make up a story
  • visit groups together, for example, libraries, play-groups or nursery where they can meet other children and interact with them
  • spend time together talking about the things you know and give your child time to talk back to you about their family and friends
  • spend time together talking about school - answer their questions, find out how they are feeling and talk to them to help put them at ease