A Child who is ready for school promotes a positive learning environment for the whole class.
"Readiness" is the idea that a child is prepared for school and, ultimately, for life. In the classroom, readiness helps to eliminate teacher turnover, class disruption and slow learning. If a child's brain is developed in the early years, he will be ready for school. Children who have high quality childcare succeed in the following ways in school:
- Demonstrate greater social skills throughout their school years, from preschool to high school.
- Excel in mastery of pre-reading, reading and math skills.
- Show greater motivation for learning and commitment to schooling.
- Have better school attendance rates.
- Are more likely to graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education or training.
For more information contact Clayton Early Learning at www.claytonearlylearning.org
Emotional Foundations of School Readiness
Another way to look at "school readiness" comes from a ZERO TO THREE report, Head Start, The Emotional Foundations of School Readiness" that really confirmed some things I have long believed to be true for young children. It focuses on 7 key characteristics which help children develop lifelong learning skills. These characteristics are: confidence, curiosity, self-control, ability to relate to others, capacity to have an impact and be persistent, the capacity to communicate, and cooperation.
Here’s a summary:
Establish routines with your baby or child. When events are predictable, when they happen in approximately the same way at approximately the same time each day, children feel safe, secure, confident and in control of their world. For example, if they know that after bath comes books, then songs and then bedtime. Understanding the sequence of events can prepare them for coping with or creating their own changes. If day-to-day events occur randomly, it can cause a lot of anxiety. If life doesn’t make sense to a child, it may feel too scary to fully explore, and learning is impeded.
Allow for and facilitate play Through play, children learn how to solve problems and develop confidence - finding the ball behind the couch, getting the right shape into its hole, getting the jack-in-the-box to pop up. An infant who successfully presses a button on a toy that produces a pleasant sound is learning that he can make something happen. It is also through play that children learn how it feels to be someone else; to try on new roles and to work out complicated feelings. A two-year old who dresses up, playing a mommy going off to work, may be working out her feelings about separations. It is essential that play be child-directed, and that parents follow their child’s lead. This will build greater confidence, assertiveness, and leadership in your child.
Let your child solve problems. Become a partner with a child in their efforts to work it out but don’t take away their initiative or their opportunity to feel successful. While it is sometimes hard to see it this way, your child’s times of greatest frustration are in fact golden opportunities for her to develop feelings of confidence, competence and mastery. She’ll learn that she can depend on you to encourage her. Meanwhile, she’s the one who finds the solution.
Give your child responsibilities. Feeling useful and needed makes children feel important and builds confidence. Jobs should be age-appropriate. Very young children can sort laundry with you, help feed pets, water plants, and pick up toys. Be specific about what is expected. Say, "Please put a napkin on each plate," not "Help me set the table."
Celebrating your child’s successes builds confidence. Make a photo album of his accomplishments. Take pictures of your child struggling to climb onto a chair, and one of him sitting in it proudly.
Provide language for your child’s experience that accurately reflects his experience, shows understanding and empathy, and instills confidence. You tried to pour your own juice. Good for you. Some juice is in the cup. Some spilled. You look sad about that. Here, wipe it up with this sponge. That pitcher is heavy for little hands. I’ll give you a smaller one and you can try again.
Parents have great influence in shaping their child’s behavior through modeling. Children are always keenly watching their parents for clues about what to do or how to feel about different tasks or social interactions. What can I do when I feel frustrated, hurt or angry? If you model persistence and confidence in yourself, your child will learn this too. Try new things and praise yourself aloud. "I was really frustrated putting up that shelf. It was hard to do. When it fell, I was mad. I rested and tried again. Now I’m proud of myself for getting the job done and not giving up." And, if you can say to your child when you are angry, "I don’t like that you threw that ball at me. I know you are angry and that’s o.k. But throwing is hurtful. You can tell me why you are mad and hit this pillow if you have to do something with your body." You are then not only addressing his behavior, and offering alternatives, but the way you are dealing with your anger in this situation is modeling a way to be angry that he will likely emulate.