Is my child ready for school?

By Rachael Willis on January 13, 2017 in Parenting

Starting school is an important step in a young child’s life and ‘Is my child ready for school?’ is a question asked by many parents.

In Victoria, your child must turn five before the 30th of April in the year they start school.

Research suggests that most children should not start school early, even if they are smarter than average. This is because they may not be ready to cope with the social and emotional demands of school.

The Department of Education in Victoria has clear guidelines about early entry into school.

Making the decision when to commence schooling for your child is an import step this is where consideration of school readiness can help.



When deciding whether your child is ready for the demands of formal schooling, it is important to consider all aspects of their development, including the following:

  • Social confidence and ability to relate to others: Is your child comfortable making new friends, and can they share, play and interact with others constructively?
  • Maturity: Does your child have sufficient listening and speaking skills and are they able to follow instructions? Do they cope well with change?
  • Independence: Is your child independent when it comes to toileting, feeding themselves and dressing themselves .
  • Motor skills: Does your child have sufficient fine and gross motor coordination – are they able to open lunch boxes and food wrappers?



– Encourage independence and responsibility at home, when it comes to: toileting, dressing and taking responsibility for their own things.

– Talk to your child about going to school – tell them what they can expect and what will be expected of them

– Read to your child every day. Encourage them to point to words and to talk about the sounds they hear.

– Talk to other parents and share ideas, experiences and feelings.

– Keep an open dialogue with your child’s teacher. Discuss any areas of concern you may have eg speech, hearing, motor, emotional.

– Most schools offer transition programs to assist young children so take full advantage of therse. Ask lots of questions and encourage your child to feel a sense of belonging to the school community.


You can help to make the experience of starting school an exciting, positive and rewarding one, by implementing these suggestions.

As your child settles in to school, Children can show signs of stress by:

  • being tearful
  • not wanting to go to school
  • having tummy aches or headaches.

You could help by:

  • encouraging them to talk about what’s worrying them
  • letting them know that you are confident they can manage
  • asking what they think would help them.

If the worries continue, talk to the teacher about the best way to help them.



Resources for more information :

Raising Children Network
For information on raising children

The Department of Health provides a free brochure with immunisation information for parents enrolling a child. For more information, see: Starting Primary School?



If a parent and/or early childhood teacher believes a child’s learning and development is not progressing at a rate similar to their peers, strategies can be planned and implemented. In most cases, it is still appropriate for a child to transition to school after their kindergarten year.

A second kindergarten year might be considered if it is deemed the most appropriate learning program and environment for that child. If so, they undergo a full second-year assessment.

More details:;

About the Author

Rachael WillisView all posts by Rachael Willis


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