Getting ready to start school


Starting school can be a positive experience for everyone. The more familiar children are with their new school or nursery the quicker they will settle in. As parents, you are your child’s first teacher.

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You can help to prepare your child to start school by:

  • Finding out about the school so you understand what will happen when your child starts.
  • Being open to a home visit from the teacher before starting school if offered.
  • Looking at the school’s website.
  • Making sure you know what to do on the first day: where to go in the morning, and where to collect your child from.

More ways to help your child to get ready for school

  • Play games that involve taking turns and sharing
  • Help them to ask for what they need, if they are hungry, thirsty or tired.
  • Teach them to dress themselves, feed themselves and use the toilet on their own.
  • Practise the new morning routine, including getting up and dressed, and having breakfast ‘in time for school.’ Make sure your child has plenty of sleep and is ready for school on the first day.

Read books about starting school

There are lots of different books you can share about school. This can help your child feel prepared to start or return to school. Try to read and share one of these books, and talk about how your child is feeling about starting school.

Books about starting school:

  • Starting School by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
  • Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean and Gareth Adamson
  • Going to School by Anna Civardi and Stephen Cartwright
  • Harry and the Dinosaurs Go To School by Ian Whybrow
  • Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! By Emma Chichester Clark
  • I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child

More ways to support your child

These simple activities really make a difference to how your child learns and develops their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. You can have fun together and get ready for school at the same time!

  • Reading together book games.jpg

    Sharing stories together

    Looking at and talking about picture books is a great way to encourage your child to enjoy stories.
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  • Dad and son sharing a book.jpg

    Singing songs and rhymes

    Help your child develop their language, vocabulary, movement and counting skills.
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    Have fun drawing and painting

    Help your child develop their concentration, creativity, and the skills they will need for writing.
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  • Girl outside

    Get out and about with your child

    Encourage your child to explore the world around them with these tips.
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  • EWT @2

    Playing together

    Help your child learn to share and make friends.
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  • Girl looking at alphabet

    Play with letters and numbers

    Play these games to help your child with their early reading and counting skills.
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