Starting school is an exciting time for young children and their parents. It can be a daunting time, too. But with a little preparation and encouragement, most children will settle in easily at school, ready to learn and discover.

Our resources and activities include lots of tips and ideas to help you and your child be ready to start school with a smile.

Resources for parents

Your child doesn’t need to be able to read, write or do sums before they start school. Children start school 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 in those preschool months and years - sharing stories, singing songs, playing games and talking about anything and everything

Penny Tassoni is a well-respected early years expert who has written a number of books on child development. She is also president of PACEY. In this video, she explores what being school ready means for children, and how parents can support this time.

Emotional preparation 

Physical preparation

  • School ready - physical development - A guide to helping children with their developing physical skills as they approach the start of school
  • School ready - communication and language - A guide to helping children develop their language skills ready to start school
  • Reward charts can be a great way to motivate children to master new skills and develop good habits which will be valuable for self-care at school, such as washing their hands after going to the toilet. Try these free downloadable charts from Supernanny and Netmums and find a design that appeals to your child
  • Make a mark, make a start - Ideas for mark making, art, and early writing activities
  • The numbers game - Help your child to prepare for learning maths at school with these simple games, rhymes and everyday activities
  • Listen and learn - School involves a lot of listening – to their teacher and other adults – so practising good listening skills before your child starts school will help them get off to a great start
  • Happy talk - Most early years teachers agree that, for a child starting school, being able to talk about what they think and explain how they feel are more important than any academic skills
  • Ready, steady, dress activity sheet - Create a self-portrait of your child all dressed and ready for school. This activity sheet not only builds excitement for wearing school uniform, but also helps strengthen children's fine motor skills, too


  • Matching Uniform game - print out our fun picture bingo game to get children talking about their uniform. You can even colour it in to match the real thing!
  • School Lunch game - print out our fun picture game to get children talking about their lunch and used to using a tray and picking their food.  

Resources for childcare professionals and schools