School readiness – is my child ready to start school

8 Apr, 2021

Primary education plays a crucial role in a child’s development. It’s not always clear when a child is ready to start school. Still, there’s a list of abilities you can identify in your kids at home and assess their readiness for school. Here you can read about some of them.

Independence and Initiative

Observe small signs of independence, like fine sensory processing, going to the toilet alone, getting dressed (at least partially) alone, show some care for personal belongings, or the ability to hold a pencil. Children show curiosity for everything since early childhood, and asking questions is an early sign of critical thinking.

Primary schools differ significantly from kindergarten or preschools readiness for school because, in the first, there are more children in the classroom. Teachers can’t take care of every child in the room at this stage, so children are expected to have some independence. An ability to sit still for at least 20 minutes is ideal as this increases the child’s ability to follow basic instructions.

Early Warnings

Watch out for a couple of signs, so you can better assess whether your child is school-ready. A child starting school should be already toilet trained, be able to put a coat on and eat independently. Look for a paediatrician’s advice, in case of any doubt.


Primary schools play a vital role in children’s social skills development. Children should have some social abilities before going to school, like being able to self-regulate, the ability to understand and express themselves and to pay attention. Because children will be placed in larger groups in primary school, children will need to interact with each other with little adult interference.

The age for primary school entry in Australia is five-years-old. It’s possible to enrol your child in a preschool at the same age. A preschool year can smooth the transition to primary school and prepare children for developmental challenges* like fine motor skills.

School Speech

Early Warnings

Observe if your child isn’t interested in playing with other children and try to understand why. Also, observe how they interact with other adults. Watch out for extreme behaviours like being too passive, too aggressive, too fearful, or having an obsession with strict routines. Sometimes, occupational therapy is recommended not only for young children but also to provide education to mums and dads.

Cognitive Skills

Children between five and seven-years-old can learn already the basics of math, reading and writing. They should already know their full name and age, as well as be able to answer simple questions. They’re expected to concentrate on simple tasks and follow short and clear guidelines.

Early Warnings

Difficulty in distinguishing different shapes, colours, numbers or letters, or to stay focused during classes and homework are common signs that a child needs help*. It might be
advisable to look for a psychologist, occupational therapist or a speech-language pathologist.


There are a couple of things that you can do long term to prepare your children for school. You can build their independence at home by encouraging them to do little things by themselves, like getting dressed and undressed or hanging their school bags. Encourage independence, sociability, and cognitive skills.

They may need to be reminded of some tasks, but most will prove themselves up to the task. If you have concerns, professional advice is never far away.

How Gen Physio Can Help

If you feel that your child may need help becoming school ready, speak to one of the qualified speech pathologists at Gen Physio today. With a dedicated team of mobile speech therapy services, we come to you and provide one on one tailored sessions for your child’s specific need. Get in touch by calling 1300 122 884.

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