What is School Readiness?

As a prep teacher, I’ve had countless conversations with parents worried about whether their child is ready for school. One particular parent, Sarah, sticks out in my mind. She was concerned that her son, Jack, wasn’t reading or writing yet, and she was afraid he wouldn’t be able to keep up with his classmates. But school readiness is about so much more than academic skills. It’s about developing the foundational skills and attitudes to help a child succeed in the classroom and beyond. In this post, I’ll share my definition of school readiness and discuss the different areas teachers and parents should focus on to help little ones thrive in school.

What is School Readiness?

School readiness is children’s knowledge, skills, and behaviours to ensure a successful transition to a big school. An easy and successful transition to school happens when children feel confident, happy and calm. We all want our children to thrive when they get to “big school”. School readiness refers to children’s:

  • fine motor development
  • gross motor development
  • social and emotional skills
  • language skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • independence

Fine Motor Development

Having strong fine motor muscles is essential for little ones heading off to big school. Not only does it help them hold a pencil when they are learning to write. It is also crucial for everyday activities such as doing up buttons or zips, tying shoelaces and opening and closing jars and containers.

Gross Motor Development

Gross motor activities include walking, running, and jumping, which directly impact children’s ability to sit for extended periods. Children are required to sit either on the mat or in a chair for most learning time at school. A strong core is essential for a successful start to school.

Social and Emotion Skills

Little ones in the year before starting school are just beginning to develop skills in sharing, turn taking and asking others to play. However, building resilience, empathy, and the ability to manage their emotions will help them deal with the demands of the school day.

Language Skills

Listening, understanding, and communicating are essential aspects of school readiness. It is vital that school starters understand and follow instructions from the teachers. It is equally as crucial that they can effectively communicate with their peers.

Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving is a lifelong skill. When children start school, they will feel confident in their abilities if they can work through a problem and seek out a solution. Children who have had the opportunity to build their problem-solving skills will not only excel academically but also in their personal and professional lives. As they grow, they’ll face various challenges and obstacles, and having a strong foundation in problem-solving will empower them to tackle these situations with resilience and creativity.


Independence is not just about being able to walk into school on their own, needing no help or support. Instead, it refers to their self-belief in their abilities and confidence to problem-solve and work through the unknown.

As you can see, school readiness encompasses far more than just academic abilities. It involves a holistic approach to a child’s development, focusing on their fine and gross motor skills, social and emotional competencies, language proficiency, problem-solving abilities, and independence. As a prep teacher, I’ve encountered concerned parents like Sarah, who worry about their little one’s readiness for school solely based on reading and writing skills. However, it’s crucial to recognise that a successful transition to school is not dependent exclusively on academic prowess but on a child’s overall confidence, happiness, and sense of calm. By nurturing these foundational skills and attitudes, parents and teachers can empower young learners like Jack to thrive not just in the classroom but also in their future personal and professional endeavours. So, let’s remember that school readiness is about building a well-rounded, capable, and resilient individual ready to take on the exciting challenges that lie ahead in their educational journey and beyond.

Happy learning, and remember to teach big and change the world!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *