Is my child ready for prep in 2021?
School readiness is a measure of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that enable children to
participate happily and succeed at school. It does not mean being able to read, write and do basic
maths before starting school. Here are some general check points you may find useful:
• Separates confidently from you when needed
• Follows basic safety rules in and out of home
• Dresses, eats, uses toilet independently
• Asks questions and seeks help when needed
• Keeps trying when a task is difficult
• Takes turns and shares with others
• Plays with more than one special friend
• Respects other children’s belongings
• Says please, thank you and sorry as needed
• Listens and responds to conversations
• Understands what, where, who and how questions
• Uses minimum of 4-5 words in a sentence
• Asks about the meaning of words
• Can talk about past and future events
• Speech can be understood by those outside the family
Physical and motor development
• Runs, climbs, hops, skips and balances
• Knows left and right, up and down
• Throws and catches a ball
• Holds a pencil or crayon correctly
• Uses scissors, pastes, draws, colours
• Recognises shapes, colours, numbers
• Counts and sorts objects
• Manages jigsaws and puzzles
• Memorises simple songs and nursery rhymes
• Shows an interest in books and reading
If you are not sure whether your child is ready for our Step into Prep classroom, your child’s
kindergarten teacher or our Head of Junior School will be able to help you with assessing your child’s
What can you do at home?
Even if your child is not at kindergarten, you can still create new experiences and activities to help
prepare and work towards developing school readiness skills.
• Organise playdates to interact with friends
• Play simple board games
• Encourage role play
• Read stories
• Have conversations and ask questions
• Encourage them to dress and use the toilet without your help
• Show them how to copy the letters in their name
• Set up play-based learning activities and let them choose
• Give them the tools to learn how to draw
• Change their play environment, mix it up both inside and out
• Encourage them to recognise labels at the supermarket and help you shop
It’s important to encourage your child to choose activities that interest them and allow them to work
out what to do next if they appear to be struggling with an activity. By letting children lead their own
learning, we recognise them as capable learners who are resourceful at developing their own
knowledge and skills.
Does my child need another year of Kindergarten or Prep?
A great deal of research has been conducted into the academic and psychosocial effects of school
repetition on children over the past few decades. It has shown the overall benefits of repeating are
minimal at best. Additionally, studies have found no substantial long-term differences in either
academic or social progress in children who repeated and those who didn’t.
For the majority of children who repeat, this does not result in a ‘catch-up’ in an academic sense and
although they may demonstrate some progress within the repeated year, these improvements are
not sustained and are generally lost within the next three years.
Potential negative impacts of repeating
Research has also shown that children who have repeated may have poorer mental health and social
outcomes than their peers. This is largely due to feeling a sense of failure or disappointment as a
result of being held back from their classmates, as well as the increased pressure to integrate into a
new peer group (either in a new class or school). For these reasons SJC does not generally
recommend that our students repeat a year.