A checklist to reveal if your child is school ready!

Sending off your precious cherub to start their first year of school can be scary.

Most kids are usually fine about it and are hanging to head to big school, especially if they have siblings already there.

Next year my middle child will join his sister, and while I’m sure he’ll be fine I do wonder if he’ll be able to sit still for more than five minutes!

He does seem to have ants in his pants A LOT of the time.

I’m fairly sure he’s got most of the basics covered, eg can recognise his name, can count to 10 etc but how do you really know what kids are expected to be able to do before they start school?

top 4 reasons teacher

Well it just so happens that I got a handy-dandy checklist from my son’s kindy, they called it a prep readiness guideline.

This is in Queensland but I reckon it probably applies to most preschool kids heading to a conventional-type school.

It was quite an eye opener and after reading this I’m sure you’ll agree kids have to be WAY more prepared for school than they used to be.

Here is what they are expected to be able to do in order to cope with their first year of schooling.

Fine motor skills

  • Can put a 10-piece puzzle together.
  • Can hold scissors correctly.
  • Can hold a pencil/crayon properly.

Gross motor skills

  • Runs, jumps, skip.
  • Can walk backwards.
  • Can walk up and down stairs.

Social skills

  • Uses words instead of being physical when angry.
  • Speaks clearly so an adult can understand them.
  • Plays with other children.
  • Follows simple direction.
  • Expresses feeling and needs.
  • Goes to the bathroom by themselves.
  • Waits their turn and shares.
  • Talks in sentences.
  • Asks questions about things around them.
  • Enjoys having books read to them.
  • Can tell a story about a past event.
  • Says please and thank you.
  • Can spend extended periods away from parents.

Academic skills

  • Recognises basic shapes.
  • Can sort items by colour, size and shape.
  • Can identify six part of their body.
  • Understands concept words such as up, down and in and out.
  • Counts from 1 to 10.
  • Recognises five colours.
  • Times to write their name.
  • Recognises their written name.

Health and safety

  • Eats healthy food.
  • Follows simple safety rules.
  • Uses good habits, eg spoons, forks, covers mouth and nose when sneezes.
  • Washes hands after going to the toilet.
  • Has a set routine for going to bed and brushing teeth.

Physical skills

  • Can put on and take off jumpers, shoes and sock independently.
  • Uses the toilet independently.
  • Can open and close lunch boxes and drink bottles.
  • Can identify their own belongings.
  • Can care for and put away play things.

Personal information

  • Knows their full name.
  • Knows their age.
  • Knows their address and telephone number.
  • Knows his mum and dad’s first names.


SEE WHAT I MEAN! Talk about an exhaustive list right?

I’m sure it’s probably best case scenario but I know that we have quite a few areas that need worked on. Although I’m not going to stress about it too much.

It’s hard to say whether these lists are helpful or just make us parents feel MORE guilt!

Does this make you feel better or worse about sending your child to school?

Did this list shock you?

Are you a teacher and have anything to add?

Linking with Jess for IBOT



  1. Will be linking back to you when I get around to writing my what we have learned at school this year post!!
    I have a friend who is a kindergarten teacher and she has kids who start that can’t do half the stuff on the list.
    I so wish the education system was a national thing so we are all on the same page.

  2. I would be impressed if my 4.5 yo could remember my telephone number! I think there should be a checklist for parent readiness…I know I wouldn’t pass though.

  3. Glad to know that Lil Pumpkin can do most things.. need to get her to memorise our address and number, and eat faster on her own though 😛 Our sch recess times are usually just 20-30 mins so I’m afraid she might have difficulty in keeping to that!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  4. We have another year before school. Thanks for the list. Esther can do most things but she may have trouble with shoe laces and recalling her address.

  5. Mmmmm my Master J is in his third year at school and I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t wash his hands after going to the toilet if I’m not there to nag him. He comes home from school and his hands are filthy!! YUK!! This is a pretty good guideline though Em, I’m going to share xx

  6. Geez, that’s a pretty full-on list, although I am feeling like I could send Punky to school next year with half of those requirements! If I could just get her toilet-trained and work on the jumper-putting-on skills we’d be set! Lol!

    Seriously though, there are so much more expectations on them now than when we started (I think, I could be wrong, I was only 5.5 at the time I suppose!)

  7. Jeepers! That is a long list indeed. I am still grappling with idea that my little man is starting school next year – I haven’t really stopped to think about everything he can or can’t do yet. Shoe tying is something he gets frustrated with – but that’s why Velcro shoes are awesome!!!

  8. This is really great, thanks for sharing – my gut feeling is that my son will do fine so it was gratifying to have that feeling supported by this list.

  9. Oh my, I’m getting dizzy with that list. My 3yo is already in school (nursery) and she can’t do all of these things yet! Yikes!

  10. I read this..I re-read it and instead of responding here, I re-activated my ‘ready set school’ blog and posted about this retired principal’s view of Readiness for school. Oh my there are so many things on that list that are so ..ok, can’t say. But I have blogged, and linked, so I’ve done that bit…
    He will be Ok.
    Hope you don’t mind my post about your post but not saying it is…thank goodness you know me..HAH!

  11. That’s pretty extensive. Thank God for kindy. I reckon that would mostly prepare them but still I’m glad you popped this up. We ‘be got a year to work on some areas.

  12. This is a great post for mums Emily. I think social skills, resilience and the ability to share and compromise are probably the most important qualities necessary. It’s way more about those things than any academic readiness.

  13. Wowzers. That’s a list! I am sharing this with my mum’s group as we have been having a conversation about this lately. I have also read that principals are trying to push a 5.5 year starting age across Australia. It would certainly help in some states where children can start the year they turn 5.

  14. Wow, that’s a scary list, isn’t it Em!? Bell couldn’t do some of those things when she started, but she muddled through. I guess that would be the ideals that they would like, but I wonder really how many are OK with all of it.
    Your little guy will be fine, because he has you helping him, and I really think that support is the biggest deal. xx

  15. Lydia C Lee says:

    Really helpful post – it’s a good list for those in 2 minds…

  16. I’m sure they send these out just to help you get your children ready. Some parents (especially those of first born) often have no idea what is expected of their child.

    Generally socially ready children are much better at coping. Great reminder to parents that its ok to wonder if your child is talking properly or having fine motor issues. There is help out there and the sooner you get them help the better.

    Good luck working through the list!

  17. That’s a pretty full on list! My brother is 15 (grade 10) and I think he still struggles with some of the social stuff lol. Dyllan refuses to believe that he indeed does have a last name but at least he knows what mine and Paul’s names are.

  18. A good list to keep in mind. I’m in the middle of a similar post using information from the transition program we are going through at the moment with our oldest. Thankfully based on your list he looks ready to go even though he’ll be at the young end.

  19. This is a great checklist although exhaustive ! Little sponges they are at this age I am envious. I haven’t particularly nurtured all these skills in Mr 4 but he has been finding his own way with his curious mind so I hope that is something he never looses.

  20. I’m quite sure I’ve met some adults that would struggle to tick all these boxes! My little guy is in prep this year. I was very worried sending him to big school as he is in the younger cohort & didn’t have great school-readiness preparation. He’s been fortunate to have a teacher who has really nurtured him & he’s come on leaps & bounds. I think the social aspects are the most important, the rest should follow (hopefully!)

  21. This makes me feel ready and my daughter’s preschool teacher has told me she’s ready but we still have another year to wait – she’s a July baby. We do need to work on address and phone number though. I’m interested to read Denyse’s post now.

  22. Oh I have to put my teachers hat on and this is definitely a topic I feel so strongly about! Having taught Grade 2 for a long time, you definitely get the aftereffect of kids who were sent to school too early. While they may cope in Prep, by the time they move through the school, if they haven’t mastered those skills before starting school, then they really do just get further and further behind. Sounds harsh but it’s true… sure you might have one or two kids that break that trend, but overall those who start off struggling will continue to do so and the gap will only tend to grow bigger and bigger between them and the rest of the class! I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve read in educational textbooks, heard from incredibly experienced teachers and principals etc, that there is absolutely no harm in sending kids later, but there is a lot of harm in sending them before they’re ready. Great post and a great list! Wow I forget how passionate I am about this – you just want every kid to have the best possible start! xxxx

  23. Ha! I know a few adults who wouldn’t pass the test, especially the please and thank yous!

  24. Eats healthy food!! ROFLMAO maybe I’m STILL not ready to go to school?! I reckon those lists are crap. Based on these criteria, Miss 17 was more than ready for school when we sent her – she was one of the youngest in her class, so we did um and ah over whether to hold her back for another year. In hindsight, I would recommend holding them back. It’s not such a big thing when they are little, when it really goes against them is in high school when their peers are at least a year – and often 2 years – older than them.

    Visiting today from the legendary #teamIBOT (I can say that coz you’re on it!)

  25. My daughter would not have known her address and phone number before starting school!

  26. I wouldn’t mind betting a lot of kids go to school not doing all those things. I don’t think any of my kids know my phone number come to think of it.

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