School readiness

School readiness

Is my child ready for school?

The time your child has spent at their Child and Family Centre, nursery, pre-school or with their childminder helps their early learning and development. We hear the phrase ‘school readiness’ a lot in the media. However, there is no clear definition of what it really means so it can be difficult for parents to know what their child will be expected to know and do when they start school.

We do know that high quality early years education and care can provide a strong foundation and prepare children for a smooth transition into school. This ensures that they develop the confidence and the personal, social and emotional skills they need to settle at school more easily and they are ready to learn and achieve their full potential.

Free early education and care is available for eligible two-year olds and all three and four-year olds. Please click here to apply or search for ‘childcare’ at

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Children and Family Centres also provide a range of low cost and free play sessions aimed at promoting early learning.

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Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS)

All schools and Ofsted-registered early years’ providers must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.

The prime areas of learning are:

  • Personal, social and emotional development

  • Physical development

  • Communication and language.

To learn more about what to expect in the Early Years, click here for a parents guide to the EYFS.

Early years settings use the EYFS to track children’s learning and development. They observe children in their play and plan activities to support their individual development. They work in partnership with parents to assess children’s progress to 17 Early Learning Goals.

If you are worried about any aspect of your child’s development and they are attending an Early Years Provision you can have a chat with your child’s Key Person or you can visit your local Children and Family Centre or ask your health visitor.

Are your child’s immunisations up to date - have they had their pre-school booster yet?

Support your child’s early learning

In the early years, children learn through play. Play enables children to explore and make sense of the world. You may see your child re-enact or plan for a major event in their life (such as going on holiday or having a new baby brother or sister). They often copy people doing things they are yet to master, testing out ideas and experimenting so they can draw their own conclusions and learn from their mistakes. This helps them explore their feelings and the feelings of others, compare themselves to others and develop a sense of their own identity.

Give your child choices and opportunities to play with the things they like. Use their interest and important events to plan activities. For example, after a trip to the GP, your child may enjoy using role play to re-enact their experience.

Children are ready from birth to form social relationships. Responding to your child will encourage communication and helps promote speech and language development. This interaction between you and your child helps them to develop social skills and the ability to control their own behaviour. This helps your child feel secure, form relationships and feel good about themselves.

Share Stories together

One of the best ways to prepare children for school is to read with them. Not only does this give them valuable one-to-one quiet time with you, but it also helps your child develop their communication and language skills.

If you would like to improve your own reading skills, there are a range of opportunities including local adult learning courses. Find out more at

Visit the library regularly with your child to borrow new books and old favourites to share at home. To find out what your local library offers visit the Waltham Forest Local Authority website and search for Libraries.

How can I get my child school ready?


Parents are children’s first and most important teachers. Help them to answer to their name and follow simple tasks.


Use your free child’s nursery place to help them get used to other children and group play. Encourage them to share and understand turn-taking.


Support them to be toilet trained. To find out more about how and when to start potty training go to and search 'potty training'.