Encouraging School Readiness Skills in Preschoolers

The preschool years are a time when parents and educators should focus on helping a child develop the tools they need to succeed before heading to formal K-12 schooling. Developing these school readiness skills will prepare children for optimal learning throughout their educational journey.

Keep in mind that being ready for school means more than being ready to learn about math, language and science. Preschoolers must possess certain emotional skills and be prepared to socialize and play with a broad range of children with different backgrounds and interests as well.

The following is a look at some of the school readiness skills that early learning frameworks suggest a young child should possess before they head off to kindergarten:

Language Development

Before starting school, preschoolers must be able to clearly communicate their wants and needs. They should be able to understand and answer questions, and feel comfortable speaking with teachers and other students. These basic communication skills will form the foundation for future literacy skills.


Preschoolers should understand appropriate behaviors and limits before attending kindergarten. Do they understand when it is ok to be loud, and when it is quiet time? Do they know when and where it is appropriate to play? Self-control is a critical school readiness skill that must be mastered to succeed in a classroom setting.


A confident child is more open to new experiences and learning opportunities, and is better equipped to interact with other children. Teaching a child to become confident in their abilities is key to helping them feel comfortable working independently as well as in group scenarios.

Fine Motor Skills

These skills are essential to success in kindergarten. Many activities will involve holding a pencil, using scissors or other actions that require the child to effectively manipulate an object or perform a task.

For more activity ideas, see our daycare activities library!

Social Skills

A child should be able to engage in reciprocal interaction with others their own age, both verbally and non-verbally. They should understand how to compromise with their peers and take turns in conversation and during playtime.


Before attending kindergarten, a preschooler should be able to care for themselves when it comes to daily activities. Getting dressed, brushing teeth and opening a lunchbox are just a few examples of the self-care skills a child should learn to be successful and develop a sense of independence.

Thinking Skills

Children should understand basic cognitive concepts such as object permanence, cause and effect, and be eager to learn more. Parents and preschool educators should foster curiosity and encourage children to keep asking, “why?” to develop their cognitive skills.

Pre-Writing Skills

Before they are able to write, preschoolers should possess some of the skills necessary to make the learning process easier. From holding a pencil properly to drawing basic shapes and lines, these skills are the basis for legible writing.

Increasingly, children are entering school without having developed these essential skills for success. To avoid leaving your child behind, both early childhood educators and parents should play a role in preparing preschoolers for kindergarten, helping them develop important social, emotional and learning skills.

Be sure to keep track of each child’s progress to make sure that they are developing all of the skills they’ll need to make a smooth transition to school. Click here to learn more about how HiMama can help!

One comment

  • Susannah Tibagwa says:

    Great tips for equipping parents of Preschoolers with skills they have to recognize or develop in their children. I usually do a parenting awareness workshop around May-June to highlight concerns which parents ought o pay attention to before their children get into Kindergarten. Social- emotional and thinking skills is usually my focus. That focus ties in with the importance of appealing to parents to create a routine/structure, with predictability and some rules to help the child with behaviour management/discipline. This too helps the child to learn how to regulate themselves while away from the security of their parents. Ultimately a sense of independence and confidence is what is being installed by all ths.