Let's Support School Readiness

What you do matters!

We support everyone involved with young children to:

  • Recognise the importance of their role in ensuring that children are school ready and life ready
  • Provide a clear definition of the meaning of ‘school readiness’
  • Ensure that a consistent message about school readiness is shared

There is no one clear definition of the term ‘school readiness’ and it can mean different things to different people, often based on our own experiences of school. In order to support professionals in their work with families and young children in preparing children for school, it is useful to establish a common understanding of the term.  
Bournemouth Early Years Service have based their definition on UNICEF’s model of the three elements of school readiness:

  • Children’s readiness for school
  • Families and communities’ readiness for school
  • Settings’ readiness for children

This provides a broad, but structured framework that highlights the importance of working together to improve outcomes for children.

Let's all support school readiness

All practitioners who work with young children and their families play an important role in developing school readiness. Good practice in this area means that practitioners, in their varied roles, should:

  • Communicate and share information about every child’s unique development with their parents and other relevant partners
  • Provide challenging and meaningful learning opportunities for each child, whilst giving them confidence in becoming a learner
  • Demonstrate high expectations of children and raise aspirations
  • Enthuse, engage and motivate all children and allow them the opportunity to make decisions
  • Share ideas about how to support home learning with parents, including routines
  • Respect and respond to the children’s backgrounds, circumstances and culture
  • Consider the changing school readiness needs of children as they enter different phases of their education and work in partnership with others to ensure these needs are met
  • Ensure that all children meet their full potential

Ready children

It is important that practitioners are aware of the importance of their role supporting children getting ready for school. This means that children should be provided with opportunities to develop the skills and attributes they will need. ‘School ready’ children need to learn to:

  • Be comfortable in approaching and communicating with others
  • Be excited, enthusiastic, curious and confident about learning
  • Be resilient and ready to take on new things
  • Be curious, take risks and solve problems
  • Feel safe, secure, cared for and listened to
  • Feel that they are valued and respected
  • Have a broad range of knowledge and skills
  • Be active and healthy
  • Start to develop an awareness of their own emotions and behaviour and be able to reflect upon them
  • Independently use self-care skills
  • Start to develop their turn taking and co-operation with others
  • Make choices

Ready families

Early Years practitioners also play an important role in supporting families to get their children ready for school. Supportive parenting and stimulating home environments have been shown to be amongst the strongest predictors of school performance during primary school and beyond. For practitioners this means helping families to:

  • Recognise that they are their child’s most important role-model
  • Have fun with their child: playing, talking and sharing together regularly and frequently
  • Use everyday experiences as learning opportunities and giving their child opportunities to take the lead
  • Celebrate their child’s achievement in language development and to sing songs and nursery rhymes
  • Support their child’s self-help skills so that they learn to do things for themselves. This allows them to make choices
  • Recognise and talk through their child’s feelings and emotions
  • Provide opportunities for their child to develop independence skills
  • Allow enough time for relaxation, rest and play
  • Establish a good sleep routine
  • Read with and to their child, everyday if they can
  • Seek professional advice and guidance, particularly in terms of health related matters
  • Ensure their child is active and healthy

What you do matters…

The practitioners’ role in supporting young children and their families in preparing for school is an important and broad one. A child who is ready for school is more likely to meet their full potential, when they start school, and in life beyond the school gates. What you do as early years practitioners really does matter...

Children’s Centres provide various courses and activities which are fun for the whole family, including learning opportunities for parents and children, parenting courses and much, much more. They also provide ‘stay and play’ sessions so that parents and children can learn and play together.

All centres have qualified Early Years staff. They are able to offer advice and support to families with their child’s learning.