Guardian Childcare & Education

10 Signs your Child Might be Ready for School 

22nd September 2020

Those important first five years of a child’s life are preparation for the exciting transition to formal schooling. And it’s a very individual decision as to when a child and family is ‘ready’ to make that transition. 


children wearing hats and laughing outdoors, showing their clean hands after using hand sanitiser

Every year around August our Centres begin to have formal and informal conversations and meetings with parents who are torn about whether to send their child to primary school, or enroll them in our Preschool and Kindergarten Program for another year. And we expect we’ll probably have more of those conversations than ever in 2020 due to COVID-related interruptions to childcare attendance in some areas.  

When to send your child to school is one of the biggest decisions faced by parents, and it’s a very individual decision based on the child and the needs of the family. Add to that the complexities of a global pandemic and it’s not surprising that parents are feeling more uncertain that ever. 

But we want you to know – aside from the age recommendations and rules about when a child must be enrolled into formal schooling – there really is no right or wrong decision. Every family knows their child best, and what is best for everyone involved. 

However, there are ways to make an informed decision. 

So, what can parents look out for to know whether their child ready for primary school? Here are 10 key indicators: 

  1. The ability to be separated from parents and carers: Being in a larger learning setting at school means that children will need to make their way with much less adult supervision. 
  2. Showing confidence physically and pride in who they are: Children need to be physically confident as they learn to carry themselves and grow their self-assurance. 
  3. Communicating clearly and forming relationships: To grow at school, a child needs to effectively follow directions and competently comprehend what their teacher says. They also need to connect with other students using their evolving language and relationship skills. 
  4. Taking responsibility for themselves, others and their belongingsSchool demands more autonomy and independence, which means they need to be able to act under their own steam; like going to the toilet unaccompanied and knowing when they’re hot or cold. 
  5. Becoming adaptable and coping with changeThis year more than ever, we have all seen the importance of being able to adapt to change and having secure relationships to draw on. 
  6. Practising resilience by persisting in the face of challengesThe ability to bounce back after a mistake or a disappointment will be key to success at school and in life. 
  7. Initiating, being involved and willing to try new thingsWrapping their head around the new rules and routines and adjusting to the shift in social dynamics of school can be a little overwhelming at times, but it’s all about a willingness to have a go. 
  8. Problem-solving and showing curiosityDoes your child show an interest in the world around them, asking questions about how things work and why things are the way they are? These are signs of inquisition and an indicator they may be ready for school. 
  9. Verbalising their needsIs your child able to determine if and when they need to go to the toilet? Are they able and willing to speak up when they need something? 
  10. The ability to resolve conflictFriendships can be complicated in the schoolyard, and your child needs to be able to effectively navigate conflicts and disagreements as they arise. 

Wrapping their heads around the new rules and routines and adjusting to the shift in social dynamics of school is exciting for childrenbut can also be a little overwhelming at times. Every child responds differently to starting schoolSome seem to sail through the transition, while others find it harder and need more support. Tending to your child’s individual needs will help them make a successful jump to ‘big school.’ 

Guardian Preschool and Kindergarten Programs give children the benefits of a structured daily learning program, while supporting parents and carers with the longer care hours provided in a childcare setting.  

So, for parents who are unsure about whether to send their child to primary school next year a childcare preschool program can help bridge that uncertainty. 

Most of all, it’s important to remember that being ready to start school is not so much about academic outcomes, as it is about social and emotional readiness. Remember, your child is unique, rich in potential, and is developing at their own rate. When your child is ready the transition to school is sure to be a happy and positive one. We’re here to help your child and you get the absolute most out of this time.

Being four years old only happens once and children have every right to enjoy their childhood. And we all have a responsibility – as parents and Educators – to ensure they are equipped for success now and in the future. 

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