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Early years information to help your child become ready for school.

school ready children early years

Ready for school?

In Leicestershire we believe that every child deserves to have the best possible start to school life.

Families, early years providers (childminders/ nurseries/pre-schools) 0-5 services and schools all have a shared responsibility to ensure that the first steps of a child’s journey through school are successful.

Starting school can be a very exciting time but it can also be challenging for some children. Small steps make a big difference and families can help to prepare their child for school.

Ready for school? A leaflet for parents  Opens new window

Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE)

Children are strongly encouraged to attend early years provision (childminder/nursery/pre-school) and take up their Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) so that they can gain the learning and well-being benefits of early education.

Don’t forget that your child is entitled to free early education funding – 15 hours for all 3- and 4-year old children (and some 2-year olds). Some working parents may be eligible for 30 hours. Check if you qualify.

See Funded childcare places for more information.

Early years providers are following government COVID guidance to ensure the safety of children in their care and will be happy to talk to you about this. Settings will use age appropriate ways to help children learn about keeping themselves safe, including regular hand washing and using a tissue.

How you can help your child at home

You can help your child to learn through the little things you do with them, for example:

  • everyday conversations
  • make-believe play
  • games with numbers or letters
  • reading together
  • involving them in the things you are doing, such as household chores, and talking with them about it

Top tips for reading with your child  Opens new window

Ten top tips to help your child to explore and work things out for themselves  Opens new window

Find ideas for new things you can try at Hungry Little Minds or Tiny Happy People.

You don't need to set separate time or plan complicated activities dedicated to learning. These activities can be incorporated into everyday life and play.

Keeping a routine

It is important to try and keep a routine, children will feel more comfortable with a predictable routine, so try to make sure they:

  • get up and go to bed at the same time each day
  • have regular meal times
  • turn off any electronic devices, including the TV, at least an hour before bedtime

Keeping active

Young children should be active for at least 3 hours a day in total.

It is also good to get some fresh air every day. If you do not have a garden and are taking children outside to exercise, make sure you follow the rules on social distancing.
While inside, there are plenty of things you can do to keep children active, such as:

  • playing hide-and-seek
  • seeing who can do the most star jumps
  • making an obstacle course
  • playing music and having a dance-off

Top ten tips for moving with your child  Opens new window

Developing social skills

Social development is important for learning and will help your child be ready for school. It is all about:

  • making relationships with others
  • understanding ourselves and emotions

Your child learns how to interact with others by watching what you do and listening to what you say.

Top ten tips for developing social skills  Opens new window

Is your 3 or 4 year old child self isolating?

Information for parents/carers to support continuing learning at home, especially for those children due to start school:

Learning at home during self isolation  Opens new window

Talking about starting school

Getting your child ready for school is a journey you’ve been preparing for since their birth. We know starting school can be a very exciting time, but it can bring some challenges too. We hope this Leicestershire video, “Talking about starting school”, will help your family on this journey.

Talking about starting school


If you’re unsure or concerned about your child’s learning and development, talk to a health professional, or speak to your child’s nursery, pre-school or childminder.

The school your child is due to start will usually contact you once your child’s place is confirmed.

You may be offered a visit or digital tour so that your child can view their prospective school.

If you have any concerns make sure you contact the school before your child starts to talk these through.

Further reading

My first 1001 days

What to expect when Guidance to your child’s learning and development in the early years foundation stage

Leicestershire Children and Families Partnership is working with early years providers, schools and 0-5 services to promote a shared view of school readiness across Leicestershire 

School Readiness - a shared understanding across Leicestershire  

Tips for foster carers supporting children transitioning to primary school    Opens new windowOpens new window

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