Ready for school?

Make sure your child is ready for the big step of starting school!

What communication skills should my five year old have to start school?

Five year olds usually show well developed communication skills. They should be able to hold a conversation confidently with adults and other children. They use long sentences and join them together with words such as “because” and “but”. Most grammar should be correct though they may make occasional errors with words like “feet” and “fell”. They should say most words clearly, though they may still have difficulty with the “th” and “r” sounds.

Five year olds should be able to:

  • Tell you what things are for: “you cut things with scissors”
  • Understand and use position words such as: on top, behind, through
  • Tell their full name and address
  • Use sentences of five to seven words or more
  • Understand concepts and opposites such as: wet/dry, hard/soft
  • Understand “same” and “different” and tell how objects are the same or different
  • Count ten things and name colours
  • Listen to and understand stories and retell them from the pictures
  • Use past, present and future tense
  • Use words such as “he” and “she” correctly
  • Ask and answer “why” and “how” questions
  • Describe their feelings with words such as: happy, sad, mad
  • Understand time concepts such as “before” and “after”

Five year olds are ready for more formal teaching of literacy. Some of the skills needed for learning literacy include:

  • Being able to hear beginning sounds in words
  • Being able to match and make rhyming words
  • Being able to clap or count the syllable beats in words
  • Recognising letters and the sounds they make
  • Being able to write their own name
  • Understanding the structure of a story with a beginning, middle and end

We have put together a collection of information for parents of children beginning school. These ideas are some of the ideas we share with families we are working with as they prepare their child for school. This collection of information has been put together not just for the families we work with, but for all families who have children just starting, or about to start school. Giving children the best possible start to school is important to their overall success and feelings of self worth and we are keen for as many children as possible to have this opportunity, whether we work with them ourselves or not! Download your free starting school booklet now!

The booklet covers skills found through research to be important for getting a good start when beginning school:

  • listening skills
  • attention skills
  • knowledge of books and stories
  • hearing beginning and ending sounds in words
  • hearing syllables in words

It contains both information and activities that families can print off and play with their children. Download your free copy here.

If you are concerned about your child’s communication skills or their readiness for school a speech pathology assessment would be useful to help you learn how your child is progressing and what you can do to help them. You can find out more about how your child is progressing with the checklists on our website.

What about handwriting? We also have occupational therapists that can help with handwriting, fine motor skills such as drawing and cutting and daily living skills such as dressing, sleeping and eating.

Special needs? We also have a free workshop on 23rd January with Dr Emma Goodall on supporting kids with autism transitioning to school or to new situations within their schooling. If you are local and interested in attending download the flyer here.

For more information and activities to develop your child's language and literacy skills check our Pinterest page. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with new information, tips and resources.

To read more about starting school from the "kids matter" website click here!

The "raising kids" website has more info about supporting kids with special needs to start school.

Related posts:

Mild difficulties

At school, now what?

Top 10 literacy ideas

Early literacy

Five year olds

Not enough support?

Reading and writing

Questions for school

Phonological awareness

Memory and school

Developing recounts

Boost brain power

Show and tell

Struggling at school?

Procedures for school

Developing story writing


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