Being school-ready


Whether you're a parent whose child is about to start at school, or a childcare professional, supporting a family to take this next big step, we've got information, support and reassurance to share.

What does being "school ready" mean?

  • having strong social skills
  • can cope emotionally with being separated from their parents
  • are relatively independent in their own personal care
  • have a curiosity about the world and a desire to learn.*

* based on previous PACEY research into what childcarers, teachers, parents and children felt "being school ready" really means. The conclusion was that children should have a curiosity about the world and a desire to learn.

Previous research from PACEY shows that almost three quarters (71%) of parents were anxious about their child starting school for the first time in September,  with close to half of parents (48%) more anxious than their child about starting school.


The start of a new school term is always exciting - but when it's the transition into "big school" - your child's very first school term, it can feel a little daunting.

We've pulled together some key resources to help you and your child prepare for this new adventure.


If you're a professional childcarer, chances are you've helped send off dozens of little ones to their first days at school. As a childcarer, you're in a great position to not only calm the anxiety that many parents feel at this time, but also to help them prepare with their children to make the most of the first weeks at school and to help create a solid foundation for their future.

My favourite thing about school is...

Factsheets for parents

These factsheets are to help you support your child get ready for school. It's not about the RAW (reading, arithmetic and writing) skills - rather helping children be curious, confident and ready to learn. Download the factsheets by clicking the links below.

We've also shared our top tips for parents over at Netmums.

Getting ready for school

Download our free guide on preparing your child for school for some great tips and hints on helping the next few weeks go smoothly.

You can also download this colourful poster (left) full of top tips. It's also available in bilingual English/Welsh.


Dressing to impress

Colouring sheets - ready for schoolCreate a self-portrait of your child all dressed and ready for school. This free downloadable activity sheet not builds excitement for wearing school uniform, but also helps strengthen children's fine motor skills, too.

Download the activity sheet.

See my school

New-school diary

We asked two of our registered childminder members to record the activities they are doing during the last few weeks of the summer holidays. Sue in Cambridgeshire and Georgina in Hampshire are both caring for children about to leave their childcare setting to start school. We're following them to see how childcare professionals, parents and teachers are all working together to support children starting school.

Expert opinion and advice

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 these videos, she explores what being school ready means for children, and how practitioners and parents can support this time.

Watch the video for parents here:

Watch the video for childcare professionals here:

Resources for childcarers

If you're caring for children, we've got loads of resources to help you support parents and children through this transition to school. Check out our collection of school-ready specific content in our MyPACEY members' area (log-in required). Not yet a member of PACEY? Join us now.

School readiness blogs

Starting school: a developmental milestone for children and parents - A survey from PACEY found that the majority of parents (71%) are anxious about their child starting school. Here clinical psychologist Dr Virginia Lumsden explores what parents are anxious about, parents' versus child's anxiety and how you can show support in this transition.

Read this fantastic blog from Book Trust that explores what school readiness really means for parents and childcare professionals including the social and emotionall skills they need.

Check out this must-read blog from I CAN that talks about how to support parents and children with the transition to school. 

Wrap around care

You can access wrap around care from a number of providers including:

  • Childminders - these qualified early years practitioners can offer early drop offs and late pick ups from the childs school.
  • After school clubs - this may be accessible at your child's school. 
  • Holiday schemes - these may be useful during the holiday period however are not usually available during term time. 

All after-school provision needs to be registered, either as part of the school it operates in, or with Ofsted or CIW (if operating for over two hours a day in Wales).

Access all our resources for supporting the first year of school and take advantage of our full 'Starting School Together' toolkit today.