Describe characteristics of ‘school readiness’

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.7: Understand the needs of the child in preparing for school
Learning outcome: Understand ‘school readiness’ in relation to the role of the Early Years practitioner
Assessment criteria: Describe characteristics of ‘school readiness’


School readiness is an important concept for students in early years settings. It refers to the skills and knowledge that children should have acquired before entering school so that they are able to get the most out of their educational experiences. This includes both academic skills and social-emotional development that will help them navigate the school environment with confidence. Let’s explore some of these characteristics of school readiness in detail.

Social Skills

Social skills are an important part of being ready for school; they include everything from being able to take turns and share with peers, to understanding basic emotions and expressing them appropriately. Students should also be able to understand complex social situations, including following the rules and responding appropriately when presented with a difficult situation or problem. Additionally, showing respect for others and their ideas is a key component of school readiness.


Academic Skills

Students should have basic literacy and numeracy skills as well as an understanding of science, technology, engineering, art, math (STEAM) concepts as they enter school. This includes basic reading comprehension skills such as being able to identify letters and words, comprehending stories, writing simple sentences, recognizing numbers 0-20, counting objects up to 10, knowing basic shapes and colours etc. Additionally, students should also be familiar with the computer basics like typing on a keyboard and navigating digital tools such as tablets or laptops.


Having self-regulation skills is key for success at school; this means being able to recognize emotions in oneself or others and managing those emotions appropriately. It also means having impulse control; understanding when it is appropriate or inappropriate to act upon certain feelings or desires in different settings or situations. Additionally, it involves developing a sense of self-control by resisting distractions during class activities or tasks assigned by teachers.



School readiness encompasses many different aspects which are essential for students’ success at school; these range from social skills such as taking turns and understanding complex social situations to academic skills like reading comprehension and numeracy basics as well as self-regulation abilities such as recognizing emotions in oneself or others and managing those emotions accordingly. All these components together form an integral part of successful learning outcomes for students in early years settings. Thus it is important that educators nurture these characteristics in young learners prior to their entry into formal schooling environments so that they are fully prepared for what lies ahead!

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