School readiness

Young pre-school girl learning to wash her hands

Is your 3-year old about to start pre-school or nursery?

There are many things you can work on at home to help get them ready.

The statements below (developed in partnership with several organisations) describe things most children should be able to have a go at by the time they are three years of age.  All children are different and develop at different rates, and some children will make smaller steps of progress.

  • Settle happily when you’re not there 
  • Feel secure, say how they feel and can ask an adult for help 
  • Play with others and begin to share 
  • Enjoy exploring new things and make choices 
  • Listen, talk and understand 
  • Enjoy rhymes, songs, stories and books 
  • Walk, run, climb and balance 
  • Eat, chew, try different foods and drink from a cup 
  • Use the toilet, wash their hands and clean their teeth 
  • Begin to dress themselves

Challenge Cards

For each statement, we’ve suggested some mini challenges that you may like to work on. Your public health nurse, children’s centre, child minder or nursery keyworker can provide ideas for activities and opportunities to help support you and your child.

Use the school readiness challenge cards and reward chart with your child.  Work on the challenges together and tick them off on the cards or write them on the chart. You could display them somewhere you can both look at it regularly. 

You can pick up bookmarks and challenge cards from your local Leicester children, young people and families centre, library or community centre, or the BookBus.

Advice and Support

Leicester Adult Skills and Learning (LASAL) offers Getting Ready for School courses that support families in Leicester to prepare their child for school.

The NHS website Health for under 5's offers a wide range of information to support starting school.


Related links

Individual challenge cards

Funded early education and childcare

Starting school - apply for a school place

Hungry Little Minds

Tiny Happy People