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What is school readiness?

On their Learning Potential website, the Australian Government defines School Readiness as “a measure of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that enable children to participate and succeed in school. Parents sometimes think that school readiness means being able to read, write and do basic maths before starting school. But this is not the case.  School-readiness is about the development of the whole child – their social and emotional skills, physical skills, communication skills and cognitive skills. Children cannot thrive at school if they have not developed the skills to manage things like getting along with other children, following instructions, and communicating their needs.  Research shows that children who start school when developmentally ready to learn, tend to do better in school – and it sets them up for further success later in life”.

For some children whose birthdays fall between January and July, a consolidation year of Pre-Preparatory or Kindergarten rather than starting Preparatory when they are four years old, might be particularly helpful.  This may have nothing to do with the child’s academic ability but rather their level of social, emotional, and cognitive maturity.  Sending your child to ‘big school’ before they are developmentally ready can have negative short and long-term effects on their ability to flourish in all areas of their development, in Primary school and beyond.

To be optimally reading to start formal schooling, the following areas of development should be carefully considered for each child:

1. Social skills – children need to be able to get along with other children, demonstrate basic manners, assert themselves, and be able to play independently as well as with other children.

2. Emotional maturity – children need to be able to manage their emotions, cope with minimal adult contact in large groups, focus on tasks, follow directions and instructions from teachers, cope with the stress of the new school environment, and understand the rules.

3. Language skills – children need to be able to talk and listen to adults and other children, speak clearly, communicate needs, understand stories, and begin to identify some letters and sounds.

4. Cognitive Skills – children should have basic number sense, basic thinking skills, and be able to wait and take turns.

5. Physical health and coordination – children should have basic fine motor skills (such as being able to grip a pencil and turn pages in a book) and physical coordination (being able to run, jump, climb and play ball).

6. Independence – children should have basic skills to manage their needs without adult supervision, such as going to the toilet, dressing, unwrapping their lunch and managing their belongings (



The purpose of having your child assessed to determine whether he/she is ‘school ready’ will help to inform your decision-making process of whether to send him/her to school or whether you choose for him/her to have a consolidation year prior to starting formal schooling.  The decision is ultimately up to parents (if your child could potentially turn five between January and July of their Preparatory year), however, making an informed decision, is often in the best interests of the child.

Additionally, an assessment of your child’s development across several areas will help inform where targeted intervention and support may be required for him/her to flourish optimally in the school setting.

School-Readiness Assessment Process:

  1. An initial intake interview with the parent/s where family, medical and educational history is documented

  2. Viewing and interpretation of any reports and playgroup/kindergarten correspondence

  3. Observation of the child in Pre-Preparatory, the playgroup or kindergarten 

  4. Administration of school readiness/developmental tests (approximately 2 hours broken up into 2 or 3 sessions depending on age and ability of the child)

  5. Administration and interpretation of school readiness checklist and relevant rating scales

  6. A school-readiness/developmental assessment report 

  7. A one-hour feedback session with the parent/s


Fees and Payment Process:

The total cost of the school readiness/developmental assessment, including the initial intake interview (approximately 8 hours in total) is $1 400


  • $185 to be paid by Debit/Credit Card on the day of the parent/s intake interview

  • $200 to be paid by Debit/Credit Card on the day of the classroom observation

  • $415 to be paid by Debit/Credit Card on the first day of testing

  • $415 to be paid by Debit/Credit Card on the second day of testing

  • The balance of $185 to be paid by Debit/Credit Card on the day of the feedback appointment with parent/s

An invoice will be sent to you via email following each payment.

A 50% cancellation fee will apply unless at least 48-hour notice is provided.

NOTE:  Some private health funds may cover some sessions of the assessment process.  A Medicare rebate may be applicable for parts of the assessment process, depending on the case.  Testing sessions are not covered by Medicare.

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