Primary School Readiness Assessment

One of the greatest milestone in a child’s life is entering Primary School. In Singapore, that seems to be THE biggest milestone–the one which most prayers are activated, the one which calls for most parental participation, the one which even a non-parent would understand.

I’ve gone through this milestone for my two older kids, and I thought ok, just one more to go. Then of course, Meimei is different. She has learning difficulties, and needs extra help and attention. Thus when the therapist gave me a checklist, I thought—woah!! this is something new!

Initially, I thought the checklist was for super kiasu parents, Tiger Mummies who manifest before primary school. But no, it’s a list by KK Hospital’s the Department of Child Development. These aren’t Tiger Doctors…so this checklist isn’t a means to ensure your baby is ready at 4 yo for school. Rather, it’s really for parents of 6 yr olds to ensure transition to primary school is smooth, and if there are needs that the school needs to look into, so that the child can integrate well into the ‘system’.

You would notice the focus of Primary School preparation is nothing academic at all. Rather, it’s more important the child can communicate, move and socialise. I’ve picked out some highlights to the checklist that are not academic, that are really important life skills for each child. Do note that there are usual points like Motor Skills, Self-help skills, Numeracy & Literacy skills, which I’ve not included in the extract below.

Attention & Concentration Skills (for tasks within child’s level of competence)

  • Able to independently engage in tasks for 5-10 min with good concentration
  • Verbal guidance needed to engage in tasks
  • Active guidance needed to develop interest, difficulty focusing on activities
  • Short attention span (<5mins)

Speech, Language and Communication Skills

  • Adequate written language communication skills
  • Inadequate written language communication skills
  • Adequate receptive and expressive language skills
  • Adequate receptive language by delayed expressive language
  • Delayed receptive language buy adequate expressive language
  • Delayed receptive language and expressive language
  • Little or no expressive language but some receptive skills

Can the child:

  • Answer questions
  • Relate ideas and experiences
  • Ask peers or teachers for information or assistance
  • Communicate own needs and wants
  • Use non-verbal means to communicate own needs and wants


Following Instructions

Can the child:

  • Follow 2-3 part directions (e.g. Put the book on the shelf, and bring the cup to the kitchen)
  • Recall and follow directions for tasks previously described
  • Follow group instructions
  • Require instructions to be given individually
  • Follow simple, single step instructions
  • Require physical and verbal prompts to follow a single-step instructions

Social Skills

  • Initiates and maintains peer interactions
  • Plays cooperatively; shares materials
  • Respects others and their property
  • Speaks up for himself during conflict with peers
  • Expresses emotions and affection appropriately
  • IS willing to try something new
  • Needs guidance to initiate or maintain peer interactions
  • Needs guidance to be socially appropriate
  • Needs active intervention by an adult for turn taking, sharing etc
  • Has difficulty responding to limits; aggressive to self or others, refuses to comply

Coping with Transitions (e.g. change from one activity)

  • Handles changes easily
  • Requires visual cueing
  • Requires verbal cueing
  • Has some behavioural reactions, adjustment period needed
  • Has great difficulty with transitions

Ability to Play

  • Plays well with other children
  • Plays on the periphery of other children
  • Prefers to play alone, can play if guided to join activity
  • Unable to play with other children; becomes easily overwhelmed or aggressive
  • Does not interact with toys

I hope this lists gives much assurance to parents with Kindergarten going kids. This is part of the Primary 1 Readiness Assessment that our girl had to go for. Do note that during this assessment, the psychologist used this checklist titled, “Individual Pupil Transition Needs Checklist” to assess her. If you want a full copy of the checklist, do drop me an email.

Till then, we are working on areas that she needs to prepare to enter this new milestone.

Nadine P1



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