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5 Things Your Child Should Understand Before Starting Primary School in 2021

Child starting primary school

The transition from kinder to prep is an important step in your child's education, and it can be difficult for your child to adjust to the new learning environment of primary school. While a lot of learning does happen in kinder, the disruptions to children's education across Australia this year may have set back the development of many children expecting to enter primary school in 2021.

To help you support your child through this big change, we're revealing the 5 things your child should have an understanding of before starting primary school, and how you can get them started developing these skills right now! If your child has started developing these skills at home before the school year begins, they will have a headstart with the new activities and concepts covered in prep, and will have an easier time adjusting to the big world of primary school.

Reading and Comprehension

Knowledge of words and the alphabet are critically important for children in understanding the world around them which is becoming increasingly full of written language. In primary school they will begin reading books independently, understanding worksheets, and be expected to read written instructions from their teacher.

Some reading benchmarks to keep in mind for your child entering primary school could be recognising the alphabet and upper and lower case letters, knowing the sounds each letter makes, and recalling the sequence of events in a story (beginning, middle and end).

Writing and Letter Formation

Working hand-in-hand with your child's understanding of reading and comprehension is their ability to write and express themselves through written and verbal language. In primary school, your child will start to write their own pieces of text, requiring understanding of sentence structure, a greater variety of words, and correct spelling.

A child with some development in letter formation, writing their own name and creating simple sentences, all before starting primary school, will enjoy a significant head start in their writing and expression skills.


Learning mathematics and developing skills in problem-solving are hugely important to the long-term academic success, and personal development of your child. Learning to use logic, numbers and basic operators to solve simple problems early in their childhood can give your child an appreciation for the power and elegance of mathematical reasoning, and it's limitless applications. This is also an important area to focus on as many children can find the seemingly abstract concepts covered in maths difficult to understand.

To kickstart your child's mathematical understanding, try and ensure that your child can count up to and beyond 10-20, recognise what addition and subtraction mean, and identify patterns and know what comes next in a sequence (eg. 1 apple, 2 apples, 3 apples…).


In a world of technological distractions, stressful news headlines, and social pressures, mindfulness is somewhat of a super power. Teaching your child the value of bringing their focus back to their immediate surroundings, the sounds of the birds outside, the feeling of their hat on their head, and the colors of objects around the house, can lower their stress and give them an appreciation for the things around them. Helping your child express their thoughts and moods (eg. "I am feeling calm") can help them develop their emotional intelligence, and help them with practicing mindfulness independently.

As practicing mindfulness carries many benefits for everyone, not just children, it is best to lead by example and incorporate mindfulness habits into your own day-to-day life, and develop in this area along with your child.


An important but often-neglected skill for starting primary school is creativity. Too often, children's creativity and imagination is cast aside in favour of watching TV, playing video games, interacting with plotlines, characters and concepts that have been pre-imagined by somebody else. A child who can express new ideas created from their own imagination, will find themselves gaining self confidence, the ability to think independently of others, and will be able to apply these benefits in all areas of their learning.

You can help foster your child's creativity by providing them the necessary resources to do so, such as pencils, a sketchbook, a diary, and most importantly, a period of uninterrupted free time where they can let their imagination go wild!

How do I get started?

By helping your child to develop their skills in these areas prior to starting primary school, you're giving them the best possible based knowledge to build upon in the coming formative years, and making one of the most significant steps in their childhood one that is fun and exciting.

If you're interested in helping your child prepare for primary school, check out our 'I'm Starting School' activity packs here. We have different options for children who are at different stages in their learning, and free teaching notes available to download! We wish you all the best for your child's future of learning.