Hornchurch Academy Trust

Ready for School

It only seems like yesterday when your child was born and now, in only a few months, your child will be dressed in their new school uniform and you will be waving goodbye to them at the school door.  You will be amazed at how quickly they settle, make friends and take those first steps along the path of independence.  Here are a few ideas to make that journey a little bit easier for both of you!

Support your child’s independence…

The most useful thing you can do to get your child ready for school is to make sure they are comfortable doing simple tasks by themselves. This includes:


​At school, we encourage the children to be able to do all toilet tasks independently.Including pulling their clothes down and up, wiping, flushing and washing their hands.We cannot have wet wipes at school due to our drainage system, so please help your child get used to using toilet roll.

Dressing and undressing

In the first few months, we understand that children will still need support with fiddly items like buttons and socks.It would be really helpful if your child can put on their coat and shoes independently when they start school (including putting coat sleeves the right way round!) When you have days when you are not in a rush, practise putting on shirts, trousers, cardigans and jumpers.Remember, sometimes, especially after PE, these clothes will be inside out!Make a game out of putting things the right way round – that would be very helpful to us at school and will stop your child from becoming frustrated when their friends can do it, but they can’t.


Tie-up shoes or buckles might be a bit difficult. Please go for shoes with Velcro fasteners if possible.


Please practise using a knife and fork at home.We do help with cutting but we do encourage the children to ‘have a go’ first.Practise opening lunchboxes and being able to open everything in the lunchbox – drink cartons can be tricky.

Solving simple problems

Make sure your child knows to ask an adult for help if they need it.Also try and help them solve some problems for themselves – like looking for things when they can’t immediately find it or

Being sociable..

Being at school and learning is a very social activity.  Children learn best playing with their peers, and they will make better progress if they are happy mixing with other children and adults.

Practising greetings

Use dolls and soft toys to role-play saying hello and starting conversations.

Practising conversations

Give your child time to talk – and also time when they have to listen – this will teach them vital speaking and listening skills. A solid foundation in these basic skills will make their learning across all areas of the curriculum easier.  Take turns talking about the best part of the day over the dinner table. Can they ask questions to find out more? Can they remember what their brother or sister’s favourite part of the day was?

Encouraging sharing and tolerance

Sharing games such as Snakes and Ladders allow children to practise social skills and turn-taking. Be sure to use the language of turn-taking, like 'Whose turn is it next?' and 'Thank you for waiting'.

Literacy and Maths Skills…

We do not expect children to start at school being able to write and read sentences and work out number problems.  That is what school is for!  There are some ways you can get your child ready for learning…

Help them recognise their name

If your child can recognise their name it will make it easier for them to find their coat peg and keep track of all of their belongings, like jumpers and cardigans at school.

Share stories

Reading to your child improves their vocabulary and listening skills, and acting out stories is a great way to practise communication. Seeing you enjoy stories also primes your child to be an enthusiastic reader.

Fine motor skills

Practising fine motor skills strengthens the muscles in the hand and makes it easier for children to develop their pencil control skills. Building Lego models, squeezing water out of sponges, screwing up bits of paper, using scissors, playing with playdough and threading beads or pasta onto string are fun ways to develop hand strength. Drawing and colouring activities are good for introducing children to mark-making tools.

Introduce them to numbers.

Go on a number hunt around your home and take pictures of any numbers you find? You could also share counting songs together like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 once I caught a fish alive or count objects as you set the table for dinner. Can your child get five forks or three cups out? Can they share them between members of the family?

Encouraging concentration…

Your child being able to concentrate in 10–15 minute bursts will really help their transition into school.

Enjoy extended play together

Building kits like Lego are great for encouraging your child's resilience, especially if they can finish the activity in one sitting. Race-the-clock games are good for improving concentration (and are helpful when you need to be somewhere on time and need your child to get their socks and shoes on quickly!).

Follow instructions.

Giving your child simple instructions to follow helps build their concentration. Why not

have a go at some child friendly baking activitieys.

Talking about school positively…

Visit the school

We are hoping to finalise our transition arrangements shortly.In the meantime, walk or drive past the school and talk about how exciting it will be when they start school.

Talk about how fun school is!

Practise the school routine

It can be helpful to do a practice journey before the big day, looking for interesting things on the way. It might be a good idea to make sure your child has school-friendly bedtimes and getting-up times a few days in advance.