Getting Ready For School

When children turn 5 they have a wide variety of skills and experiences. These are different in every child. There are some skills that can be helpful when preparing for a smooth transition to school, but don’t stress if they haven’t mastered every one!

It is helpful if your child can independently:

  • do up their shoes
  • manage their clothing- putting on and taking off and putting it in their bag
  • go to the toilet then wash their hands
  • blow their nose
  • pack and unpack their bag
  • manage their lunchbox items
  • ask for help when they need it

Your child’s learning will be helped if they:

  • know how to share
  • know how to wait and take turns
  • know the names of colours
  • know some of the letters of the alphabet
  • can count to 10 or more
  • can recognise their name
  • can hold a pencil correctly and write their name starting with a capital letter followed by lower-case letters
  • have had lots of stories read to them
  • have lots of opportunities to talk about everything

School bags should contain:

  • a lunchbox that is easy to open(fruit, morning tea and lunch)
  • drink bottle they can open and close (water)
  • change of underwear, socks and pants (particularly in winter)
  • brimmed hat - compulsory in Term 1 & 4-named

A Smooth Transition To School

Many children benefit from visiting the school playground in the weekend or after school and trying out the equipment.  Visit their new classroom and talk about what they can expect. When completing school visits make sure they know where the toilet is and how to use the taps etc.

Some Ideas For Supporting Reading, Writing and Maths Before School:


  • Share lots of stories at home.
  • Visit the UH Library and select books to share.
  • Talk about pictures and characters in stories.
  • Play word games (like I Spy) and share songs and nursery rhymes.
  • Find letters and words in everyday life- can they read “The Warehouse”, “McDonalds”, stop signs etc?
  • Have magnets on the fridge to make their name and “Mum” and “Dad”.


  • Use pencils, felt pens and crayons.
  • Draw pictures and an adult writes a caption-eg.  The Beach.
  • Write their name in sand, on paper with crayons and felt pens(start with a capital letter and then lower case letters).
  • Find things that sound the same as the beginning of their name eg. Sam, sandwich, Superman.
  • Practise holding a pencil correctly (tripod or pincer grip).
  • Help send e-mails.


  • Count everyday items.
  • Count backwards like a rocket and take off!
  • Look at and read prices in shops.
  • Compare the size, length of items and use words like longer, shorter, bigger, biggest.
  • Cook and measure ingredients.
  • Cut up food or share it equally for 2 people, 3 people etc.
  • Talk about first, second, third.
  • Talk about time.
  • Use positional language- above, below, between etc.
  • Make repeating patterns- red, blue, red, blue.
  • Name shapes you see.