Child prepare primary 1

How to help your child prepare for Primary 1 at school

02 Jun 2023
Child prepare primary 1

Lisa recently faced the task of helping her son transition from nursery to P1. Like many parents, she felt anxious that he wasn’t reading yet. He didn’t seem interested in letters and numbers.

Lisa wanted to encourage his desire to learn. How would she go about sparking his curiosity?

Lisa had a secret and some ideas!

Not only is she a mum, but Lisa Nettleton is also the head of the Junior School at St George's.

Here are some of the things she did to help her son. They played endless games of “I Spy” and encouraged him to vividly describe his observations. They sang those familiar favourite nursery rhymes together which let him practice the rhythm of language. But mostly, Lisa showed her son that the process of learning was fun! You can do that too.

Starting school is an exciting time but it can be daunting too.

What can your child look forward to at St. Georges? Get the insider' view from some of our Primary 1 students by watching the video below:

Welcome to Primary 1 at St George's

There are many ways you can strengthen your child's skills and readiness before they start. With good preparation and plenty of encouragement, most children settle easily and start school with a smile.

In our nursery, children learn by playing both indoors and out. From messy painting to walking through green spaces, these types of activities lay the solid foundation in pre-literacy, writing and numeracy skills.

As the children move into P1, the focus of learning is on fostering positive social and emotional skills by creating a safe and comfortable space for them to become more independent. Our teachers at St George’s are genuinely engaged with our children to draw out their own ambitions which includes their non-academic aspirations.

Before starting school, your child does not need to be able to read, write or do sums. Children start school with a wide range of abilities and our teachers are ready to help our children progress at their own level.

Wrinkly Nose

While you’re getting ready for this exciting transition, what's most important is that you have fun with your child.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Share stories. Maybe you can tell them about when you started school?
  • Sing songs. Make up lyrics to your favourite tune about what going to school will be like.
  • Play games. They can pretend to be the teacher and you can be the student.
  • Go outside and let them explore the richness of the natural world.
  • Talk and ask questions. Help them discover new things.

These kinds of activities are the building blocks for developing curiosity and the desire to learn.

If you are still choosing a school for your child, there are other practical ways you can help make the transition smooth for them. Arrange a visit with the school. Ask to be shown the places that are really important to your child and will help them feel settled. This will include finding the cloakrooms, the classroom, where they will eat lunch, and where they will wait for you at the end of the day.

Try and meet their classroom teacher and encourage your child to say hello and share a few things about themselves that the teacher might like to know. Let your child share a special toy or talk about their favourite activities. Ask questions about the school day and what sorts of things your child will be doing during the settling-in period.


Check List: How Ready is your Child for Primary 1 and Starting School?

Take a look at our check list below. You may see some areas where you can support and extend your child’s skills in the coming few months leading up to starting school.

  • Independence Skills
  • Manage in the toilet and wash hands
  • Undress and dress
  • Take care of belongings
  • Hang up their coat
  • Change shoes
  • Pack and unpack a school bag


  • Follow instructions and listen carefully

Social Skills

  • Play well with other children
  • Take turns in play/game situations
  • Share with others
  • Show empathy and care to friends

Emotional Skills

  • Cope with new situations
  • Deal with changes in routine
  • Separate happily from parent/carer
  • Manage emotions when things go wrong

Attention and Concentration Skills

  • Listen to and follow a responsible adult’s instruction
  • Persevere in an activity lasting 5 -10 minutes
  • Manage to sit and remain in one place to finish a meal, listen to a story, etc

Communication Skills

  • Speak clearly and be understood by others

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