Ready, Set, School: The Signs of a School-Ready Kid

Is your child ready for the everyday challenges of school? A child development expert shares some of the signs you should look out for.

When your child reaches school-age, there are several developmental milestones that you should watch out for so your child is both mind and body ready at all times. After all, your child will experience numerous challenges throughout the school year that you need to prepare him for. These skill sets should be present and progressive on a daily basis. Whether your child is going to school or not, it is crucial that these skills be developed and sustained once he hits the age of 4. These become the building blocks or foundation for the next developmental stages of his life.

You can assess these skills through continuous observation and communication with your child. Let Teacher Tina, directress of Nest School for Whole Child Development and Master of Family Life and Child Development from the University of the Philippines (Diliman), show you what you need to look for.

Your child communicates well

Communication is key in child development most especially in your child’s play on words. The more you talk to your child, the more eager he is to learn new words. Notice if your child's language improves as his baby talk becomes syllables, syllables into words and sentences. Most language patterns of children are mimicked from what they hear around them, specially the language patterns of their parents and primary caregivers.

Can your child follow simple instructions? Listening is as important as speaking and following simple instructions at home can strengthen your child’s listening skills in school. This is why communicating with your child on a regular basis not only improves his verbal skills, but also his listening skills.

As listening develops, your child will have to be more attentive to understand what's going on around him. This needs a longer attention span not just to understand what he hears, but also to finish tasks. Try to limit screen time with gadgets and television to lengthen his attention span. Reading with them daily not only is a good bonding activity but also develops verbal, listening and comprehension skills. Can your child follow storylines and character formations? These are things that you can readily assess if you read to them every day.

Your child understands concepts

When your child can comprehend or understand instructions, storylines and verbal cues, then he can easily understand other concepts, and understanding concepts also leads to problem-solving skills. Your child should be a critical thinker in order to solve simple and complex problems daily. Whether it be how to tie his shoelaces or how to solve an addition problem, observe how your child gets the solutions. Does he venture on different ways to solve these problems? This also means that he is not scared of taking risks or making mistakes in order to get to the correct answer.

Being able to question the world around him also heightens your child's curiosity to discover new things. So prepare yourself for a lot of Who, What, When and How during these times. Encourage this questioning stage so that your child can develop a deeper understanding of what he experiences around him.

Your child works well with others

During the school-age years, your child will realize that the world does not revolve around him. He should be able to connect with others well in order to thrive in a group setting. Observe how he is with other people other than those he is familiar with—how he plays with other children, how he reacts to other adults, or how comfortable he is in a group like a party, reunions, etc.

Your child is physically ready

A common area that parents focus on during the school-age years is the intellectual domain. However, there are other domains that you should watch out for. You should watch out for the physical skills of your child like big and small body movements and fine motor skills. It's going to be hard to play in the playground if your child is having difficulty walking, running, jumping and climbing! Watch out for these physical skills that may be taken for granted. Check out how your child uses scissors, scribbles and paints to assess fine motor skills. These are crucial for improved writing skills.

Holistic Child Development

All these skills and milestones make up the whole child—cognitive, language, verbal, socio-emotional and physical. These should all be developed with equal importance and should be present all the time. Your child should have the proper health and nutrients to prepare him for these stages of development. NIDO FORTIGROW has DHA and other important nutrients that help kids be mind- and body-ready for school every day. For more information on how to develop these skills, visit the NIDO FORTIGROW Facebook page.


Teacher Tina is a Master of Family Life and Child Development from the University of the Philippines (Diliman) and the directress of Nest School for Whole Child Development, a progressive school offering preschool and elementary education founded in 2001. She has spear-headed the school to be one of the leading progressive schools in the country.


This article was created by Summit Storylabs in partnership with NIDO.