Is your child ready for BIG school?

Posted by Rebecca Oberg on

By Kelly Fong, Early Years Professional & Lead Practitioner
By Kelly Fong, Early Years Professional & Lead Practitioner

This is a question that is often asked around this time of year in the months running up to your child starting at primary school. It’s an exciting time for young children and their parents, but we know how daunting it can be too.

With a little preparation and encouragement, most children will settle in easily at school. Here at Eureka! Nursery we put a big emphasis on giving your children the confidence, independence and skills they’ll need to thrive in their learning and development, and here are a few things to help you and your child get ready for the BIG transition.

First off – Try not to worry…

Your child doesn’t need to be able to read, write or do sums before they start school. Children start with a wide range of abilities and their teacher will be skilled at helping children progress at their own level.

What’s most important is that you and your child have fun together before starting big school – sharing stories, singing songs, playing games and talking about anything and everything!

Skills for a positive start

All children will start school with a range of skills, confidence and abilities, but here are a few things that you can work on at home to help make their transition a little smoother, and which we use at nursery already:

  • Let your child develop their independence skills further by letting them take the lead in feeding, washing, dressing and toileting – this also gives your child more confidence in themselves in new social situations.
    This is partcularly useful around toileting,as teachers won’t to wipe your child’s bottom for them once they’ve started school.
  • Look for opportunities to give your child more responsibilities around the home. Include them in decisions about chores and set some clear boundaries – this will help them at school as there will be plenty of rules and regulations they’ll be expected to follow.
  • Build on your child’s learning skills and imagination by looking for opportunities to get them thinking! For example, when reading a bedtime story, ask questions at the end to improve listening skills and get them using their imaginations. While out and about, ask them to count some of hte things around you, such as how many red cars or even how many trees.
  • Take time to get crafty with glue sticks, scissors and paper, as this can hone their hand-eye co-ordination and build their hand muscles – needed for holding a pencil at big school.
  • Support their developing independence when getting dressed – you can start with simple tasks that will help them learn to follow simple instructions AND boost their independence – things like “can put your socks on please?” or “can you put your shoes on, all by yourself?”.


It’s important to talk about starting school with your child as much as possible, because you both might be feeling nervous about it. Ask questions, such as “What do you think it will be like?” “What are you most looking forward to?” and “Is there anything you are unsure or worried about?”

If you can, visit the school with your child before they start – either on formal open days or other events, which most schools will be running.

There are loads of books and youtube videos out there about starting school, and if your child seems anxious about it, try focusing on the things they’ll like best such as the sandpit, playhouse or making new friends.
You could even practice having breakfast and the school run so you are both prepared for the school morning routine.

If your child has a particular worry, you can talk about these concerns with your child and with their new class teacher as this will really help strengthen their bond and give your child some of the security they may need.

Finally, try to stay relaxed and positive (we know it isn’t always easy!) as your child can easily pick up on your emotions. And remember, every child is different and starts school with different abilities, so don’t worry!

Some books about going to school that may be helpful:

  • I am too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child
  • Starting School by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
  • Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean and Gareth Adamson
  • Harry and the Dinosaurs Go to School by Ian Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds
  • Come to School too, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester Clark

…And a couple of helpful websites:

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