The author critically analyses the concept of 'school readiness' in an early years context by comparing her experience of education 'reform' in England, which puts ever greater pressure on the youngest children to 'perform' and her research at a Reggio Emilia school in Italy, which takes a very different approach. Teachers here would consider the idea of “school readiness” counter intuitive, limiting the potential of children, by focussing on a constrained set of skills required by schools.