School Readiness Checklist Australia: Is My Child Ready For School?

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One of the most significant and exciting milestones for any child is the day they start school. However, the move from preschool to kindergarten involves changes to your child’s routine and focus. Many people assume that children reach a magic age where they are equipped to start school, however this is not the case. 

Children develop at different rates across various disciplines, meaning there are a number of other signs you should be aware of when considering your child’s school readiness skills.  These factors encompass your child’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. Knowing what to look for will help you to support your child through the stages of transitioning into primary school.

Aurrum Kids has a history of supporting children and parents through the move from preschool to kindergarten. Our staff provide helpful advice, helping you and your child through what can be a challenging, but ultimately exciting, change.


School Readiness Signs

There are a number of school readiness skills you can consider when deciding whether or not your child is ready to start school. These range from observing their maturity in difficult emotional or social situations, to monitoring elements of their physical and cognitive abilities when completing daily tasks.

Physical Signs

Two of the most important physical factors in your child’s development are their gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills refer to your child’s physical abilities, which will be necessary during school playtime and sports days. As a parent, you can support your child in developing their gross motor skills by encouraging them to play outdoors and take part in playful activities.

Fine motor skills are also important for school. Tasks such as writing, using scissors, drawing and colouring in are all tasks that your child will be expected to complete when they start school. There are a number of activities that can help develop childrens’ fine motor skills, including sensory play, crafting and sketching.

Emotional Signs

A large part of transitioning from preschool to kindergarten relies on your child’s ability to control their emotions. Children should be supported in developing coping mechanisms against anger, sadness and frustration, which are feelings they will likely experience when they move into primary school. Before starting kindergarten, discuss with your child the importance of managing their feelings and controlling their emotions. One of the best ways to support your child’s emotional development and teach child empathy is to provide a stable, supportive environment at home. When your child starts school, they are able to model their own behaviour on what they have witnessed at home. 

Social Signs

Communication is another crucial component of transitioning into the more fast-paced environment of primary school. Communication is needed not just to socialise with other children, but also in order to talk to teachers, cooperate with others and listen when necessary. As a parent, there are a few things you can do to help your child develop communication skills. Including your child in family or group conversations, encouraging them to participate in group activities such as sport or dancing, and setting up playdates or games will all help your child grow socially.

Cognitive Signs

Advanced cognitive development will help your child succeed in primary school. Learning language skills will help your child to follow instructions, participate in class discussions and socialise with other students. One of the easiest ways to foster the development of your child’s cognitive functions is to allow them to read as much as possible. Not only will this provide them with an advanced vocabulary, it will also allow their comprehension skills to develop, through storytelling and recounting the events of the book.

Together with language development, your child’s ability to focus is also paramount. The ability of your child not to be easily distracted in the classroom will allow their learning to flourish once they reach school. Allowing your child to complete activities that require long and uninterrupted focus, such as reading, drawing or puzzles, will help your child to make the most out of their education once they start school.

School Readiness Checklist NSW: Frequently Asked Questions


What is school readiness and why is it important?

School readiness skills ensure your child has the abilities necessary to learn in a more structured educational environment, such as primary school. While academic knowledge is important, other factors such as independence, emotional maturity and social skills also need to be considered when your child transitions from preschool to primary school. 

As a parent, it’s important to ensure you encourage your child to develop as much as possible in their early years, helping to set them up for success in later education. Your reassurance to your child will influence how they perceive school, including how confident and engaged they are in the classroom.

How do I get my child ready for school?

While there is no set guide for making sure your child is ready for school, there are several things you can do to encourage their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Including your child in conversations, playing games with them and reading together can foster both social skills and communication, while puzzles, drawing, sports and dramatic play can encourage their physical development. Meanwhile, explaining the importance of controlling emotions helps children to respond positively and appropriately at school. Fostering your child’s development of these school readiness skills allows them to confidently make the shift from preschool to kindergarten. 

How can my child prepare for their first day of school?

Preparation for your child’s first day at school is critical. Being well prepared will help reduce the stress associated with starting school, turning it into excitement. It’s important to discuss with your child what they can expect to do at school, and reassure them that it will be a fun and exciting place to learn. Practise your morning routine with your child, including waking up on time, eating breakfast, getting dressed and travelling to school. You may also wish to visit the school beforehand, at an open day or welcome evening, to make your child feel more comfortable with their new surroundings. Most importantly, help calm their nerves by reminding them you are proud of them and excited for their first day. 

What do I do if I don’t think my child is ready for school yet?

If your child isn’t displaying all the school readiness skills outlined in this article, that is perfectly okay. All children develop at their own pace, and there is always the option of allowing your child to wait an extra year before starting school. Whether or not this is beneficial will depend on your child’s individual circumstances. If you are at all concerned about your child’s development, talk to their preschool teachers or a paediatrician to develop a personalised support plan. 

School Readiness Skills for Preschool and Kindergarten

Preschool can be invaluable in preparing your child for the transition into kindergarten. It offers the opportunity for your child to get a taste of what school will be like, with structured, yet playful, experiences. Preschool encourages social interactions, independence and cognitive development. Attending preschool allows your child to learn how to follow a routine and how to interact with other children, both of which will be necessary skills in primary school. During their time at preschool, children learn to develop their emotional responses and problem solving skills, making them more confident when it comes time to move into primary school.