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How can you prepare your child for primary school?

The dream pupil is not the child you arrives knowing the most but the child who is equipped with the skills required to learn.  The most helpful thing that parents can do is prepare their children socially and emotionally as opposed to focusing on trying to raise their IQ.  Beware of overloading and ‘hot housing’ your child.  Have the confidence to do what is right for you and your child even if it is different to your friends.  Children have different energy levels, interests and abilities.   If a child has good self-esteem, can do basic things independently and feels very connected to their parents, that will set them off on a good start to being at school.

Social development

  • Share toys
  • Take turns playing
  • Enjoy playing with other children and respond positively
  • Interact and engage with non-family adults
  • Not be tempted to interfere with others

 Emotional development

  • Control emotions
  • Notice how others feel and comfort them if necessary
  • Cope with changes in routine
  • Handle new situations
  • Happily separate from parent

 Personal development

  • Go to the toilet alone, flush and wash hands
  • Get dressed and undressed alone
  • Eat independently and sit at a table until finished eating
  • Sleep through the night


  • Do as they are told majority of the time
  • Understand and follow boundaries
  • Control temper
  • Focus on an activity for a substantial period

 Speaking and listening

  • Follow and respond to simple instructions or requests
  • Take turns and listen without interrupting inappropriately
  • Speak clearly so that they can be understood
  • Large spoken vocabulary


  • Enjoy looking at books and listening to stories
  • Discuss what’s happening in a story, remember story sequence
  • Hold a book correctly and turn pages
  • Distinguish between front and back, top and bottom of page
  • Understand directionality of print from left to right
  • Understand written word corresponds to spoken word


  • Count objects up to 10
  • Sort and match objects according to colour, shape and size
  • Understand relative sizes (e.g. tall/short)