Dr Jane Williams and Dr Tessa Grigg


The readiness of any child for pre-school and school must be considered on an individual basis. The most important aspect to consider is to think about how your child is developing, more than the date of birth.

Research clearly (Pagani, Fitzpatrick, Archambault, & Janosz, 2010) shows that how ready children are for their school experience, is critical to their confident start and their success at school. It is never too early to prepare your child for school. Parents can help prepare their children by being aware of the skills needed for entering school. Then conscientiously and deliberately providing opportunities for their children to develop these skills. The best training for school is a happy home where children have learnt to laugh, cuddle, talk, play, be active, help, wait, watch and above all believe in themselves. The next best training is time in a program such as GymbaROO – KindyROO, where research-based programs(Goddard-Blythe, 2005; Thelen & Smith, 1994; Williams, 2015) and specially designed equipment encourage critical skills for early learning, especially literacy.

Sensory motor stimulation through movement, massage, songs, games and dancing enhances the child’s brain development. Children learn about climbing, jumping, swinging and ball skills, as well as balance, co-ordination, spatial and temporal awareness. These are all crucial pre-requisites for formal learning at school. Time at preschool will help them learn to cut, draw, construct, listen, share, write, stack, pack and most of all, help them to participate and manage without mum. Readiness, however, is not just educational. It needs to be combined with a preparedness of the body, soul, mind and ego.


Your child will find school entry easier, if most of the skills in each of the following areas have already been gained before entry:


Social skills:

  • able to trust and relate to other adults
  • able to act on directions from other adults
  • able to go to preschool without tears
  • able to mix happily with other children at preschool
  • able to take turns and share

Emotional skills:

  • able to separate from parent easily
  • has confidence in own abilities
  • able to participate in activities by self
  • able to participate in group activities
  • able to exercise some self-control

Physical skills:

  • able to take personal care of eating, dressing and toileting
  • has developed a preferred hand, eye and ear
  • has developed gross motor skills to manage equipment in the playground
  • has developed fine motor skills to manage equipment in the classroom
  • can cut and paste with ease

Educational skills:

  • can talk in sentences, not just in two or three words to express own needs
  • speech is understandable to tell about experiences
  • can follow two simple instructions
  • can understand most concept words
  • enjoys listening to stories, looking at pictures and talking about them
  • can remember parts of favourite book or story
  • can repeat some nursery rhymes or finger plays
  • can sing some kindergarten songs and knows basic colours
  • can draw people with three or four recognisable features
  • holds pencil correctly and attempts to write
  • can count own fingers
  • shows curiosity
  • wants to learn by asking questions – Why? or How?
  • able to attempt to solve simple problems


In general, children are ready for formal learning, when they have most of the above skills. They are all set to have fun and enjoy their education. If they are struggling with many of these skills, then don’t rush school entry. Seek advice from your GymbaROO- KindyROO teacher or consult a Specialist in the area of Child Development.


Goddard-Blythe, S. (2005). Releasing educational potential through movement: A summary of individual studies carried out using the INPP Test Battery and Developmental Exercise Programme for use in schools with children with special needs. Child Care in Practice, 11(4), 415-432. doi:10.1080/13575270500340234

Pagani, L. S., Fitzpatrick, C., Archambault, I., & Janosz, M. (2010). School readiness and later achievement: A French Canadian replication and extension. Developmental Psychology, 45, 984-994. doi:

Thelen, E., & Smith, L. B. (1994). A systems approach to the development of cognition and action. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Williams, J. (2015). Does a neurodevelopmental movement program affect Australian children’s academic performance? Unlocking Potential: a report. Australian Journal of Child and Family Health Nursing, 2(12), 12 – 18.


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Your Guide to Back to School Organisation

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