What Should A Child Know Or Be Able To Do Before Starting School?-primary school-new start-big school-parenting-lifestyle-reception class

What Should A Child Know Or Be Able To Do Before Starting School?

Starting school is a big step in every child’s development, isn’t it? It’s the end of an era. Our babies are officially not babies any more. They are fully fledged children. In the big school! We are parents of school-aged children. When did that happen? Seriously? It seems like four minutes since my baby was born, not four years. I’m not sure I’m ready for her to not be a baby. But, emotions aside, what should a child know or be able to do before starting school? How can we best prepare them so they easily settle into school?

I asked my fellow bloggers for their opinions and this is what they came up with…


Know Their Own Name

I think being able to recognise their name is a really good idea. Just so they know where to hang their coats on their pegs, which is their book etc. – Beth Law, Twinderelmo

Our school have asked that he can recognise his name so he can go to his own peg and will know which clothes are his. – Emma Reed, Emma Reed


Dress Themselves

My eldest starts in September too, and we’ve made sure she can put her coat on (and zip it up) by herself. Especially as she’ll be wearing it a lot of the time! – Emily Peacock, Emily and Indiana

Which foot is which for putting shoes on, and practice with school shoes and plimsolls! – Gemma Hall, Mummy’s Waisted

I would say being able to dress/undress themselves for PE and put shoes on the correct feet (so many times my daughter came home with shoes on wrong feet). – Lindsay Moles, Newcastle Family Life

Getting dressed and undressed for PE, putting shoes and coats on are most important. – Hannah Collins, East Sussex Mummy



She can write her own name and copy words and knows most of her letters/numbers but I don’t think that’s particularly important as there are specific techniques they teach and they’ll get more than enough letters and phonics thrown at them in reception. – Frances Taylor, Whinge Whinge Wine

My daughter starts reception in September and I think learning their phonics is really important. We’ve taken it a step further and taught we her how to read so far we up to level 4 on the dandelion launchers. – Maria Hughes, Happy Mummy



Toilet wise the teachers won’t be able to help the same way as nursery staff can so some skills in that area will be necessary. – Hannah Collins, East Sussex Mummy



It’s helpful if they can carry a food tray for lunchtimes, it’s an easy thing to practice at home. – Kate Kirk, Counting to Ten

Familiarising them with the dinner menu so they know what to expect if they have dinners! – Megan Morgan, Truly Madly Kids

Being able to use a knife and fork if they are having school dinners (all children in reception entitled to a school lunch) and recognising their name. – Mandi Morrison, Big Family Organised Chaos


Don’t Worry

They soon pick things up when they are doing them surrounded by classmates. They do get plenty of help if they’re stuck and pick things up super fast! – Donna Dundas, Bobsy’s Mum

Any reception class should be fairly flexible and remember that at this point a lot of the learning is through play anyway. That said, most kids should be around the point they’re learning to do toilet stuff themselves. Don’t worry if they can’t write their name or count to twenty yet though. – Leigh Ramsden, Dad Geek


What are your thoughts on the above advice? Would you add anything else to the list?

I must admit, when I read some of these I started to panic about whether Molly would be ready to start school. I recently wrote a post about the fact that I have been debating with myself about whether or not I should defer her start date as she’s a summer baby. But, every child is different and every child will learn at their own pace. Some children will find school easy; some may struggle. But at the end of the day, as long as the child is happy then that is all that matters to me.

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.


Sam x



  • JakiJellz

    Ah, Sam, it’s a daunting time for both child and parent! This time last year I felt all the anxiety, but I can honestly say, school has been the making of my little boy. Admittedly he is one of the oldest in his class, but he has friends who aren’t yet five and they do equally as well as each other. The first year is more about learning through play than anything, and they all learn at their own pace so I really wouldn’t worry too much. I was a Summer baby and I managed just fine. Enjoy the Summer before it all changes, she’ll be a superstar, I’m sure! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales

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