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School Readiness



School readiness refers to a stage in a child's development when she is ready to learn in a formal learning environment and can do so effectively and without emotional disturbance.




School readiness is not a fixed point as growth and maturation is an ongoing process. It is a condition indicating that the child is ready to learn.

A school-ready child will have developed physically (See School Maturity), socially, emotionally and intellectually to a level that will enable her to benefit fully in a primary school class.

While School Maturity cannot be influenced, school readiness can be encouraged by exposing children to a wider range of experiences and encouraging them to develop their senses and skills.




The Whole Child is a free newsletter that Shirley provides giving suggestions of school readiness activities that will stimulate the all round development of preschool children, including gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual and auditory perception, numeracy and linguistic skills.

Many of the areas of development listed down below cannot be developed by the child alone.



A child needs an adult to guide her and give her opportunities to use her abilities and discover new concepts.

How tall am I?


Adults also provide examples and act as role models for children for example in their use of language and in the control of their emotions.

Children with good home backgrounds or good preschool experiences are more likely to be school ready than those who without.


Differences in Development

Although all children do pass through the same physical stages of development, not all children develop at the same pace e.g. one child may walk at 11 months and another at 18 months, yet these are both accepted as normal. No two children have the same skills, talents, intelligence or develop in the same way.

Here are parenting tips and a description of typical child development milestones for preschoolers as young as two and three years: Preschoolers

Similarly, not all children reach school readiness at the same age or at the time of the start of their first year at primary school. Home education plays a very significant role in a child's development towards school readiness.

Some children may not be school ready for some of the following reasons:

  • they have working parents who have little time for their children
  • they have little language experience
  • they have not had many opportunities to play and discover
  • they are not well-fed
  • they are not healthy


Ready for School? A Checklist

The school may expect the following from a child starting Grade 1.

1. Physical health
The child must have good eye sight and hearing and must be strong enough to learn. She should be able to dress herself and go to the toilet alone.

2. Gross Motor Skills
The child must be able to control her muscles enough to be able to walk, jump, run and reach.

3. Fine Motor Skills
The child should be able to work accurately with small objects. She needs to be able to handle writing equipment e.g. pencils, crayons etc. She should also have developed the correct pencil grip.

4. Perceptual Abilities
The child should show that she able to understand the information sent to the brain by the senses:
Auditory Perception - translates what is heard by the ear and is understood by the brain
Visual Perception - the information transmitted to the brain by the eyes. This is necessary for reading and all written work.

5. Social Adaptation
The child must be able to work and play with other children, separately and in groups. She must also communicate easily with her teacher and her class mates.

6. Intellectual Ability
The child must have a good memory and be able to learn, think, observe and communicate. She must be able to understand instructions.

7. Concentration and Perseverance
The child needs to be able to work on one task for a reasonable length of time.

8. Skills in Categorizing
The school beginner should be able to recognize similarities and differences.

9. Language Development
The child needs to be able to speak, to understand and to express herself.

10. Emotional Readiness
The child must be able to fit into the new environment and show consideration for others. She must be able to control her emotions.

11. Critical Thinking Skills
The child must be able to face her own problems, evaluate them and solve them.

12. Hunger for Knowledge
The child must show that she wants to learn.



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