I’m generally not a big fan of checklists – I believe that each child should be allowed to develop at his or her own pace and that it is primarily the function of education and parenting to support the child wherever he or she is in her development. But, I also understand that every now and again it is re-assuring to have a guide, a general idea of where a child might be in his or her development and which areas might require more attention.
For this reason, I have decided to publish the following checklist for school readiness. Keep in mind that this list is merely a guide and should never be used on its own to determine whether a child is ready to start formal schooling – if you have any doubt as to your child’s school readiness have him or her undergo a comprehensive school readiness assessment so that all aspects that might impact on his readiness t learn might be evaluated.
- Is your child able to cope independently with toilet routines?
- Can your child dress independently? (Tie laces, fasten shoes, do / undo buttons, etc)?
- Is your child able to get ready for school (get dressed, pack lunch) with minimal assistance from you?
- Is your child able to handle responsibility? Does he have chores at home such as feeding pets, watering plants, etc?
Social and Emotional Skills:
- Can your child willingly share his/her toys and possessions with other children?
- Is your child able to wait his turn?
- Does your child remember to say “please” and “thank you”?
- Can you rely on your child to convey short messages accurately?
- Can your child be corrected without being reduced to tears?
- Does your child persist with challenging tasks?
- Is your child confident enough to approach a teacher or other adults when he does not understand an instruction or when something is wrong?
- Is your child able to separate from you for a short period without becoming tearful?
- Is your child able to resolve minor conflicts with peers without adult intervention?
- Does your child have a set bedtime routine and get sufficient sleep each night?
- Does your child have healthy eating habits?
- Is your child physically strong enough to carry his own schoolbag or take part in physical play with his or her peers?
- Is your child able to maintain a good posture at his or her desk for sufficient periods of time?
- Is your child able to manipulate a pencil or pair of scissors effectively?
Listening and Language:
- Can your child follow two-part instructions, such as “pack away your toys and go and bath”?
- Does your child understand the concept of opposites such as high/low, less/more, early/late, etc?
- Can your child classify objects (e.g. fish, sharks, whales, dolphins, seals as sea creatures)?
- Can your child retell a story in the correct, logical sequence?
- Can your child initiate and maintain a conversation?
- Does your child have a sufficiently large vocabulary and is his speech and pronunciation clear and easy to understand?
- Does your child show an interest in stories and reading?
- Is your child able to memorise simple nursery rhymes?
- Is your child able to find rhyming words?
- Is your child able to synthesise sounds such as “c.a.t.” into a word (cat)?
- Is your child able to identify the beginning and end sounds of simple words such as dog, bat, lamp, etc?
Number and Quantity Concept:
- Is your child aware of numbers in everyday situations?
- Does your child use mathematical terms such as “equals, divide, add” in his everyday conversation?
- Is your child able to count quickly and correctly to 20?
- Does your child understand the one-to-one concept of object counting?
- Is your child familiar with quantitative concepts such as “less, more, longest, shortest, etc?
- Is your child familiar with positional concepts such as “first, last, second, middle, etc”?
- Does your child know his/her birthday, home address and parents’ telephone numbers?
- Can your child name and identify different parts of the human body?
- Can your child recognise and name basic colours and shapes?
- Does your child know what day of the week it is and what day tomorrow will be?
Anel Annandale is a prominent Educational Psychologist with a passion for early childhood development and a special interest in neuropsychology.
She is experienced in the field and has established herself as an expert, often appearing on television shows such as Exspresso. She is also available as a guest speaker at relevant events and functions.