Spring is a busy time of year for students and parents alike. Families are preparing for graduation (college, high school, middle school, elementary, and preschool) and the next step. As a society so much time is spent looking to the future, we forget to there is a start which needs to be planned. It is a topic which has gained more publicity in the past few years, especially with the Universal Prekindergarten and Early Childhood Education Act of 2018.
When and how do we start preparing a child for school? Preparation starts during pregnancy with proper nutrition and prenatal vitamins. It continues at birth and through the first year with setting of a daily routine which includes plenty of sleep and oral communication with the child via talk and reading. As the child progresses into the toddler years, it becomes providing proper nutrition through a balanced diet, working on gross motor skills, tracking developmental milestones, encouraging curiosity, learning cooperation and getting along with others, as well as continuing to talk and read with your child. Around the age of three, academics start to be introduced when your child begins asking “why” about everything. Books and Google along with hands-on exploration set the stage for inquiry.
Who is responsible for preparing a child for school? Everyone! The parents, obstetrician, pediatrician, extended family, friends, neighbors, members of the community it takes us all—the whole village. It is not only pitching in to help, but also setting an example to child as a role model. Think about how you are talking and treating others in public, especially when young children are around because they are matching and imitating as they develop a norm set of behaviors.
Why do we want to prepare a child for school? It is NOT about flashcards and sight words, preparing a child for school is igniting a curiosity for learning and how to get along with others. We want to set the foundation for children to be problem solvers who can collaborate when creating a solution. Having self-regulation and awareness of how our actions impact others is part of functioning in a society, and school is the first experience for children to be in society their families providing direct guidance. Most of all, we just want our children to be successful in their ventures.
Please follow the link below for an infographic, from the Institute of Education Sciences, of an overview of school readiness.