School Readiness in the Young Child: How Parents Can Help

We’ve all experienced at least one benchmark test in our lives — drivers license, college entrance exam, professional certification, just to name a few. We approached these tests with a good sense of what would be required for us to master in order to pass or even excel. So we studied and our success probably correlated to some degree with the amount of effort we expended to adequately prepare for the evaluation.

But what happens when there is no manual to follow to help you prepare? No test prep materials or tutors to help us understand what it takes to be successful when it comes time for an important assessment or evaluation? These are the very questions that beleaguer parents of young children who trying to make sense of whether their son or daughter is in the best possible position for a successful start to their formal education, otherwise known as pre-kindergarten or kindergarten.

So if you are like a lot of the parents of young children with whom we work, you are probably asking yourself, “What does it mean for my child to be ready for pre-kindergarten or kindergarten?” and “What can I do to help my daughter or son be ready for school?”

Many parents are surprised to learn that our answer doesn’t include creating study sessions focused on teaching your child to identify sight words or memorize basic math facts. No, instead we ask our parents to embrace and promote research-based best practices that reinforce natural healthy child development.

If you’re like a most parents who value education, you’ve probably been hearing and reading about child development since you first learned you were about to have a little one of your own. So your parenting likely naturally includes promoting increasing independence, strengthening language and communication skills, providing ample time for socialization and developing and maintaining physical well being in your child. These may not immediately sound like the qualities you associate with school success. But after decades of teaching and evaluating children, I can assure you that these tried-and-true tenets of child rearing are the foundation of a secure, thriving young student.

In my upcoming blogs I will be digging more deeply into each of these domains of child development that contribute to school readiness for the rising pre-kindergarten or kindergarten student. So keep your eye out for more thoughts on how to help promote your child’s school readiness in each of these areas of child development:

  • Language and communication skills
  • Social skills
  • Skills for developing independence
  • Physical well being

The bottom line is that building academic readiness in your young child is really about promoting health child development. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author

Carolyn Nelson, M.Ed.