Starting school is a major milestone in the life of a child. Children are seen to be ready for school when they have reached the chronological age for entry as established by the state. To start primary school in Victoria, children need to turn five years of age by 30 April of the year that they start school. Children must be at school in the year that they turn six years of age - this is the compulsory school starting age. Exceptions to this can be made.
Research suggests that children who transition to school smoothly and experience early school success tend to maintain higher levels of long term social competence and academic achievements. It is therefore important to look at whether children possess skills that promote their ability to successfully commence school, rather than look at their age.
What is school readiness?
‘Readiness is what we call the things that assist children in being successful at school. Readiness is not an event that happens at a certain time, and it is a process that every child moves through at their own pace’.
When considering a child’s readiness for school, families should be encouraged to make decisions based on their child’s needs, skills and interests. Developing knowledge and skills in the areas of numeracy (numbers and counting) and literacy (reading and writing) are helpful, however not essential. The development of these skills should be supported when a child is ready, and at a pace, the child can cope with. Social development is crucial for school readiness, and it is highly important for children to have good social skills and be confident learners to set strong foundations for a lifetime of learning.
To assist in developing school readiness:
Educators and families may like to encourage the following in preschool children to assist in the development of school readiness:
School Readiness Indicators
When determining school readiness, families and educators may like to use the following indicators as guidelines. It is optimal if a child is achieving some skills out of each category.
Independence / Life skills
Cognitive / Thinking skills
If you have questions /concerns about your child’s school readiness, speak to your child’s kindergarten teacher or us, we work closely with kinder and child care settings.
References and more information: