What is School Readiness?

School readiness is a very broad term, and it seems everyone has a slightly different definition. We know it is important, and it is often referred to when little ones are getting ready to start school. However, it is a term that is hard to define. Sometimes, parents think that school readiness means being able to write, read and know early addition and subtraction before starting school. This is not the case at all. This post will highlight our definition of school readiness and discuss the different areas of school readiness.

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

Let’s have a look at these areas a little more closely.

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.
You can read more about Core Strength for School Readiness here.

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 is an essential aspects of school readiness. It is vital that school staters 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 life 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.


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.

If you want to know more about building your little one’s independence with practical advice and ideas, click here.

School readiness is also about the family’s readiness to adapt to change and support their school starter with the transition. Finally, school readiness is children possessing the skills, confidence, and independence necessary for a successful start to school, their years at school, and life beyond. If you are looking for more ways to support your school starter, please join our email list to receive updates and a Starting School Bingo Board at the start of every month! It is packed full of small tasks that build independence and confidence!

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