We would like to help you to prepare your child for starting school and the way we support you around this has changed.

Parents and carers will be contacted by a Community Nursery Nurse from their local Health Visiting team to arrange a face-to-face appointment, to talk about their child’s health and development. This will usually happen in the 18 months before a child starts school.

During the school readiness review, you will be able to talk about the 10 Key Steps to School Readiness, as well as an opportunity to discuss your child’s general wellbeing.

10 Key Steps to School Readiness:

• I can settle happily without my parent or carer

• I can tell friends and grown-ups what I need

• I can take turns and share when I am playing

• I can go to the toilet on my own and wash my hands

• I can put on my own coat and shoes and feed myself

• I can tell a grown-up if I am happy, sad or cross

• I know that what I do and say can make others happy or unhappy

• I am curious and want to learn and play

• I can stop what I am doing, listen and follow simple instructions

• I enjoy sharing books with grown-ups

Find out more here: Getting your child ready to start school

You can also visit @DerbysFamilyHealth Facebook page for lots of information about family health and wellbeing.

Your child's development

All children develop at different rates, however there is a range of when children are developing certain skills. See the skills below which we'd expect children to be developing between the ages of 3 - 5 years. The skills shown are developed over an age range so your child may not do some of the skills until they are at the top of that age range. To develop, children need opportunities and time to practice skills.

The age 3 year review will be carried out between the ages of 2 years 10.5 months and 3 years 3 months. Below are the skills we look at for this age group:

Communication skills

  • Can point to body parts
  • Understand the concepts of on and under, up and down
  • Is using three or four word sentences and action words to describe what someone/thing is doing (running, eating etc)
  • Can tell someone their first and last names

Gross motor skills

  • Can swing leg forward to kick a ball
  • With both feet coming off the ground together they're able to jump on the spot and forwards 6 inches
  • Without holding on they are able to stand on one leg for one second
  • They're able to throw a ball over arm
  • Walks upstairs using alternative feet (they can hold on to a railing or wall)

Fine motor skills

  • Is able to copy drawing a straight line downwards from top to bottom of a page, from one side of the page to the other and copy a circle
  • Can hold a pencil between their finger and thumb like an adult
  • Can thread beads/pasta on to a piece of string
  • Is able to get a pair of scissors to open and close to try to cut paper

Problem solving skills

  • Can copy you when you lining up four bricks/objects or making a bridge from three bricks
  • If they cannot reach something they will move a chair/box etc to climb up on to reach it
  • Is able to repeat two or random numbers that you say e.g seven three or eight two or five eight two

Personal/social skills

  • When asked they're able to say if they're a boy or a girl
  • Can put a coat, jacket etc on by themselves
  • Use a fork/knife and spoon with little spillage
  • Takes turns when playing a game
  • Is able to manoeuvre a wheeled toy around objects and back out of corners if required
  • When asked who’s that in the mirror they say me or their name

In addition to the above skills children in this age range develop the following skills:

Communication Skills

  • Can follow three unrelated instructions that have been given in one go without gestures or repeating the instructions such as close the door, get the ball and sit down
  • Forming complete sentences using all the words eg I am going to Grandma's

Gross motor Skills

  • Using both hands can catch a large ball
  • Can climb up the rungs of a ladder and slide down the slide independently

Fine motor skills

  • Can copy a drawing of a cross
  • Able to do a five to seven piece interlocking puzzle

Problem solving skills

  • Able to correctly point to smallest circle out of three different sized ones when asked
  • Likes to dress up and pretend to be someone or something else

Personal/Social skills

  • Able to move food from one container to another using a utensil
  • Can independently wash hands with soap and dry them afterwards


In addition to the above skills children in this age range develop the following skills:

Communication skills

  • Able to name three things from a common category eg Can you tell me the name of some animals/things you eat
  • When asked, can answer what they would do when they're tired and what they do when they're hungry
  • Able to tell you two things about a common object eg a ball is big, it is round, they throw it
  • Able to use endings of words such as “s”, “ing”, “ed”

Gross motor skills

  • Can throw a ball over arm towards someone who is 6ft away
  • Able to hop once on either foot without losing balance
  • Starting stood up with feet together they're able to jump forward 20inches
  • Without holding on, they're able to stand on one leg for 5 seconds keeping their balance and not putting foot down

Fine motor skills

  • With scissors, they're able to cut paper in half keeping mostly in a straight line
  • Able to copy three of these shapes without tracing them: L  +  I  O
  • Able to undo one or more buttons
  • Can draw a person including three of these things in the picture: head, eyes, nose, mouth, neck hair, trunk, arms, hands, legs, feet
  • Able to colour mostly with in the lines of a picture or a drawn two inch circle

Problem solving skills

  • Will follow three different instructions using the words under, between and middle without help from pointing etc
  • When asked “which colour is this” can name five different colours
  • Without any help, when five objects are put in front of them and when asked, they're able to count them saying one, two, three, four, five in correct order

Personal/social skills

  • Able to tell you four of the following:
    • First name
    • Second name/surname
    • Age
    • If they're a girl or boy
    • Town or city they live in
    • Telephone number
  • Able to name two or more friends not including siblings
  • Can put toothpaste on a toothbrush and without help brush all their teeth
  • Without help, other than with zips, buttons etc can dress and undress self

There are many ways in which you can help your child's development with day to day activities. Below are just a few ideas to get you started:

Communication, problem solving and fine & gross motor skills

  • Read a familiar story, but leave gaps and encourage children to fill in those gaps eg “Grandma, what big ……………. you have.”
  • Help your child set the table for lunch/dinner. Talk about each thing and what it's used for. This encourages counting and placing skills.
  • Trace around simple objects e.g. hands, cups. Use different sizes and colours. Talk about differences and sort them, if possible.
  • Give a cup to your child and have one yourself. Use cereal pieces and encourage your child to put one in each cup. Keep adding then tip out and count how many in each cup. Is it the same? Use them to practice adding small numbers together eg 1+2=3.
  • To help co-ordination and balance encourage your child to try new ways of moving e.g. bear walk, rabbit hop, frog jump.
  • Encourage your child to describe everyday objects using words such as big, small, round, square and also their colours. Describe these things too e.g. cars go fast, ice cream is cold, play dough is soft. Use outdoor areas, weather permitting.
  • Encourage your child to put objects into categories by cutting pictures from magazines and asking them to sort e.g. animals, food, toys. Use boxes to help them sort the pictures.
  • Make an indoor tent by placing a blanket over a table. Pack a picnic. Uses torches and pillows and blankets for extra fun.

Social and emotional development

  • Make a ‘me book’ – put in pictures of the child’s family members, friends and pets and use it to recall special memories.
  • Let your child help with simple cooking (supervised at all times) and cleaning tasks e.g. stirring, adding cold ingredients, putting away spoons and forks, washing/drying plastic cutlery and utensils.
  • Encourage your child to help when tidying up, use simple two step instructions e.g. put the Lego in the box and close it.
  • Encourage your child to attempt to do things themselves e.g. putting on their coat and shoes themselves. Use encouraging words and praise.
  • Play copying games. You make sounds and animal noises and ask your child to copy you.
  • Encourage creative play with crayons, painting, play dough. Use chalk outdoors to draw on driveways and patios. 
  • Play together with your child and encourage them to share and praise when they do. Talk about sharing and playing with others.
  • Have play dates with children of same/similar age (where possible). Keep it short, but offer lots of opportunities for the children to share and play together.

Communication, problem solving and fine & gross motor skills

  • Make an adventure path outdoors using chalk. Encourage your child to walk around objects. Talk about going under, over, around.
  • Whilst eating meals, talk about more and less e.g. who has more potatoes? Who has less carrots? Whose glass is bigger?
  • Play a copy game using a piece of paper. Ask you child to draw a picture and then you copy the picture and talk about the picture you've both drawn. Then swap and get the child to copy your picture.
  • Practice following instructions by playing simple games where the child needs to listen carefully to instructions and copy e.g. touch your head, find a book and stand on it.
  • Play moving and freezing games e.g. musical statues. Encourage child to make different shapes with their body as they stop.

Social and emotional development

  • Draw simple faces with different moods/expressions. Ask your child about them and talk about feelings.
  • Talk about your day at tea time, encourage all family members to take part.
  • Tell a favourite story and talk about any feelings the characters may have felt. Talk about the characters.
  • Talk about things you see when you're out and about.
  • Play turn taking games e.g. a simple board game.
  • Encourage children to talk about feelings and if they're sad/happy. Can they say why?
  • Visit your local library for a story session (most libraries run these for free).
  • Encourage sharing activities e.g. colouring, play dough and cutters.
  • Make simple puppets from lolly sticks and put on a show for family members.