School readiness

Starting school is an exciting time for young children and their parents. It can be a bit daunting too, but with a little preparation and encouragement, most children will settle into school easily.

Your child doesn’t need to be able to read, write or do sums before they start school. What’s most important is that you and your child have fun together in those preschool months and years – sharing stories, singing songs, playing games and talking about anything and everything. Play offers children a range of skills they will need when they start school so that they can understand their own needs and other people's. 

Group of young primary school aged children

Practical things to learn before starting school

Going to the toilet
Help your child to be confident about getting to the toilet in time and wiping properly, using toilet paper

Washing hands
Help your child to understand the importance of good handwashing with soap and water, especially after going to the toilet.

Getting dressed
Let your child try putting on their school clothes, taking them off and folding them neatly. It will help if they can practice with buttons, zips or other fasteners.

Children need to be able to use a full-sized knife and fork and carry a plate or tray. If your child is taking a lunchbox, make sure they can open it as well as any containers and packets inside.

Using a tissue
Help your child get used to using a tissue to catch their sneezes or wipe a runny nose.

‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’

  • Catch a sneeze or runny nose in a tissue
  • Put it in the bin straightaway
  • Wash hands to kill germs

Tidying up
Help your child get used to hanging their coat up, putting toys away, clearing the table etc. this will help to prepare them for doing these things at school.

Learning through activities and play 

The following links can help you find more information and give you ideas to help your child develop through play.

Better Start Bradford
Ideas and activities to keep minds and bodies active

50 things to do before you’re 5
Ideas and an app to give you ideas of activities

Bradford libraries
Bradford Libraries Weekly Storytime and Rhymetime

Tiny happy people
Videos for you and your children from the BBC

Hungry little minds
Fun activities for children from new born to five years old from the Department for Education

Advice on child development 

Bradford 0-19 service
Advice on child development 

Childcare and early education
Access to early education from aged 2


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