Getting children ready for school

Information and ideas to help your child be ready for their first day at school.

What is school readiness?

School readiness may mean several things to different people.  At Oxfordshire County Council we have adopted UNICEF’s description of the three elements of school readiness:

  • Children’s readiness for school
  • Families and communities’ readiness for school
  • Settings’ and schools’ readiness for children.

Children have the potential to become school ready when families, early years providers and schools work together to support the development of children’s confidence, resilience and curiosity.

A child who is ready for school will be:

  • Curious and confident about learning.
  • Resilient and ready to take part.
  • Able to take risks, ask questions and find solutions.
  • Confidently active and be healthy.
  • Independent with self-care skills.
  • Comfortable to make friends and take turns.
  • Cared for and feel safe and secure.
  • Able to vocalise choices.

Is your child ready?

Ask yourself these questions to see if your child is fully prepared to start school.

  • Are they able to dress themselves?
  • Are they becoming confident and able to make friends?
  • Can they go to the toilet on their own?
  • Can they listen to others with understanding?
  • Can they explain how they feel?

Visit our Preparing for school page.

Understanding your child’s development

  • Children develop and learn at different rates and in different ways. Their development is not neat and orderly!
  • That’s why the Department for Education’s guidance document, Development Matters (pdf format, 25.7 MB), sets out children’s learning in broad ages. It shows how lots of different experiences in the first three years of life will help your child to learn.
  • Development Matters includes some checkpoints. They can help you and your childminder or early years setting have a conversation, if you’re worried about anything. Then you can decide together what to do next.
  • The ‘checkpoints’ are not a ‘ticklist’ to use for every child.

What to expect in the Early Years - a guide for parents (pdf format, 6 MB)

Your health visiting service is here to give you support and advice up until your child’s 5th birthday. Information to help you.

The Home Learning Environment

50 things to do before you're five

A menu of exciting activities for families in Oxfordshire with young children, giving them great suggestions for how to have fun and learn at the same time.

Families and communities readiness for school