* Take a caring parent, preferably two.
* Add a good nursery at around the age of three years, four at the latest.
* There teach the child interdependence, sharing, respect for themselves and others, and (very important) where the toilets are.
* Stir a mixture of purposeful play, group times designed to extend concentration and improve behaviour, and well-planned curriculum activities (all hands-on and developmentally appropriate to the age group of course).
* Add a familiarity with and a love of books.
* Bake slowly, giving the various ingredients time to take effect. Do not rush this dish or you are likely to spoil it.
* When ready, at around five years old, transfer to school.
* Now begin to add the icing. This basically consists of the Three Rs, with the latest national curriculum key stage 1 thrown in to add a fuller flavour.
Important note: It is not a good idea to try to apply the icing before the cake is ready. Prepare this dish correctly - the results are well worth it.
Joanna Gordon is a nursery teacher in Reading