Unsure if your child has the skills needed to start school successfully next year? Here’s independent advice and a free checklist to help you make an informed decision.
In NSW, your child can start Kindergarten at the beginning of the school year if they turn five on or before 31 July in that year. By law, all children must be enrolled in school by their sixth birthday.
Going to ‘big school’ will be a change for your child. In the months leading up to your child’s first day at school you can help prepare your child for the changes to come by supporting your child’s development of these skills:
Schools are very verbal environments and your child will need to be able to follow instructions and understand what teachers are saying, as well as being able to communicate what they know, want and need to teachers and peers. Determine how your child’s language skills are progressing when you download the check-list at the bottom of this page.
Motor co-ordination and skills
With 20+ children in a class, it’s unlikely that your child’s teacher will be able to provide the one to one help that your child is used to at home. Your child will need well-developed co-ordination skills to dress and undress, unwrap lunch, use a pencil and scissors, and participate confidently in learning activities that require eye hand and motor co-ordination. The check-list below will help you to work out how your child is progressing.
Concentration and emotional maturity
At school, your child will need to be able to socialise, follow the rules of a game and play cooperatively with classmates. Your child also need to be able to deal with the structured nature of a classroom and be able to focus on tasks, follow directions from teachers and cope with transitions from one activity to another. Decide if your child has the emotional maturity for starting school using the check-list below.
Social Maturity and Independence
There will be times when your child will have minimum adult supervision at school. This includes going to the toilet by themselves, dressing, and being able to follow a structured classroom routine. Your child will need to be able to deal with challenges like not always being the winner and complying with what a teacher asks of them, even if they do not want to.
Teacher & Kids First founder
© 2014 Kids First Children’s Services
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Free school readiness checklist
Kids First’s health and education professionals have compiled a comprehensive check-list to help you make an honest appraisal of where your child is currently at.
You can also use it as a base for discussions with professionals who know your child well, such as early educators and preschool staff.
Download it below and remember, if you have concerns about your child’s school readiness, seek support early so that your son or daughter has the time and help needed to make a happy and confident start to school.