school readiness and fine motor skills

School Readiness Checklist – 4 tips for creating a great start

Nicole fine motor skills 3 Comments

After a lazy, hot summer it’s now not long until the kids return to school. Preparing children for school readiness – whether they are returning to school or starting for the first time – helps get them off to a good start.

But it’s important to remember school readiness is not about age. As Simone Crighton, Shapeeze Creator, recalls:

My middle child and inspiration for our Shapeeze® journey Ella, was 4 and 3/4 (the second youngest in the school) when she started school alongside others who were ‘held back’ and were a full year older. Having passed all the school readiness tests run by her preschool teachers and already being very comfortable in the school environment as a younger sibling, there was never a question about whether Ella should be held-back. I received a variety of “advice” as to whether she should start at that age also being small, and as her new school life drew closer, Ella became rather anxious about the decision “Everyone says I’m too little to go to school, mum”.

However, thanks to her wonderful preschool teachers, her Shapeeze practice and some support from her older sister, Ella did not look back from her first day and continues to love school as well as her place in it.

This school readiness checklist highlights language skills, motor coordination skills, concentration, emotional and social maturity and independence as important milestones for children to reach before they begin their schooling. Fortunately, many of the activities parents do with their children help with developing these skills.


Even if your child can’t yet read, reading with them assists with building the language neural connections in the brain, improved vocabulary, letter recognition and cognitive understanding. Discussing the story will also develop their language skills and ability to communicate their thoughts clearly.


Creative play with supervision such as playdough is a tactile experience. As they squash it and shape it, it always responds. This helps children understand action and consequence. It also uses large and small muscles, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The action of manipulating and moulding the playdough is therapeutic and a great stress release, so a good one to turn to if kids are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.


Puzzles are a great activity for school readiness. They require cognitive thought and concentration to solve the puzzle, fine motor skills to hold and turn the pieces to discover how they fit, and they develop emotional skills – the patience required to solve the puzzle and the reward of satisfaction to complete it.

Fine Motor Skills

At school, children will need coordination skills to be able to unwrap their lunch, use a pencil and use scissors. Our Shapeeze kits allow children to work independently in a creative play environment with all the tools they need to develop these coordination and fine motor skills. The kit offers the opportunity to use glue, recognise shapes and colours, practice colouring in and encourages use of imagination.

What other school readiness activities do you use? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.


You are encouraged to share this post with your network via your preferred platform or to reprint the content without changes. If you wish to reprint, please include this information – Shared with permission of Simone Crighton, Shapeeze Creator

School Readiness Checklist – 4 tips for creating a great start
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School Readiness Checklist – 4 tips for creating a great start
School readiness is not about age. Also key are fine motor skills, language, literacy and numeracy plus cognitive thought. Creative play develops all these.
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Comments 3

  1. My Granddaughter started school last September she was 4 years and seven months.. at nursery she was quiet and shy… Emilia loved drawing and her mum would sit with her for hours sticking and making things, when she went to school she was able to write her name and recognise some words in her story books. This gave her confidence for when she entered the big world of school. Shapeeze would be a great complementary activity for preparing for the school years.

    1. Hi Mrs Williams! Sounds like you are from the UK, thanks so much for taking time to write to us! It’s so lovely to share our stories; my middle daughter (the impetus for Shapeeze) was 4 years and 9 months when she started school, however with an older sister already there she wasn’t – and still isn’t – quiet and shy!! With such an engaged mum and nanna, I’m sure Emilia is blossoming now. Thank you again for sharing. Simone.

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