School Readiness

It is that time of year, when parents question whether their children are ready to start grade 1.I homeschool but have foundation phase qualifications and thought this might be helpful to those who send their children to school.
In South Africa, children need to enter Grade 1 in the year they turn 7. They are allowed to start at age 5 provided they turn 6 after June. There are many influencing factors which can all be very overwhelming and confusing. We don’t want to push our kids too much but we also don’t want to hold them back if they are ready for the challenge. Children are unique and different and all develop at a pace of their own so we cannot compare them to others. You as the parent have to make the choice that is right for your child. If for some reason you have to “hold them back” it doesn’t have to be a negative. It just means that they are not yet ready but when they are ready they will be better equipped to enter into the big scary world of Grade 1 with confidence.
School readiness looks at Physical, Cognitive, Emotional and Social development. In other words, it looks at the development of the whole child.
Here is a basic checklist;


  • Can hold a pencil correctly
  • Can cut with scissors
  • Can throw and catch a ball
  • Can hop skip and jump
  • Balance on a balancing beam
  • Can dress and undress himself
  • Can tie own laces/do up buttons
  • Can go to the toilet without help
  • Can colour pictures


  • Short term memory
  • Know left from right
  • Able to draw himself
  • Can build a puzzle
  • Show discrimination between different objects
  • Able to put things in sequence
  • Understands positions in space
  • Has intellectual curiosity
  • Knows colours and shapes
  • Can count up to 20
  • Identifies numbers up to 10
  • Can concentrate/pay attention
  • Has an understanding of time. I.e. yesterday, today, tomorrow
  • Knows own age


  • Can verbally express emotions
  • Will not cry when separated from father or mother
  • Does not act in aggressive way
  • Can cope if he does not get his own way
  • Will correctly deal with criticism
  • Will respond when spoken to
  • Knows the difference between fantasy and reality


  • Can integrate into a group
  • Willing to share
  • Carry a conversation
  • Knows how to ask for things and not just take
  • Able to listen to others
  • Show good manners


  1. In England our children start in Reception the September after they have turned 4 which many would argue is too young. It is interesting to read about the different criteria elsewhere. #BloggerClubUK

    1. shew, 4 is young hey!I really believ that 4 year olds still need play

  2. This is so useful! I too live in the UK. My child starts reception in September and he will be 5 in the October. My other son is a July baby so he had only been 4 for six weeks when he started school. I feel like my elder son was ready for school - I'm not sure about the youngest one. I have considered home-schooling myself and it's great you can do this. It was great to read the criteria of what a child can usually do in South Africa when they begin school. This is a great post, thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes Janet :)

    1. thanks, shew 4 just seems so little to me.They still need to be playing at that age.

  3. Aawww, Back to school soon. Its been an amazing Summer in UK and I kinda sorta remember when my kids were heading off to Reception....they are now taller than me, teenagers, where does time fly? I never even once considered home schooling. More power to you!


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