Liz's Little Time/Big Impact Tips for School Readiness

Mar 14, 2023

Are you ready to spend just a little of your time for big impact? Keep reading and you’ll learn a few of my everyday tips to build your child’s school readiness skills.

In Part 1 of my School Readiness blog I shared how organizations - including the U.S. Dep't of Education - say school readiness occurs when children have the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for success in school and in life. In comparing schools and early childhood programs, many outline developmental domains, such as Headstart’s 5 learner outcome framework as a guide.

I’ll use these outcomes to organize just a few of my easy to implement strategies for school readiness.

1. Approaches to Learning

We want our child to be confident, curious, and engaged learners!

Support a Growth Mindset so you child can build frustration tolerance. How? Use the Power of Yet. If your child says, “I can’t" add “yet” to the end!

Ask and wonder in front of your child. Get those critical thinking skills going. Instead of answering your child’s questions and need for information, answer with a “Why/what do you think?”

2. Social and Emotional Development

  • Help your child build identity awareness! I don’t just mean what their name is. Say things like: “In our family we . . .” “Our family tradition/celebration is. . .”
  • Name emotions (the good and the ugly) AND something that helps the child regulate. For example, “I noticed when you sit in your bed/crib with your lovey you can calm down.”
  • Model and practice turn-taking (a more concrete and developmentally appropriate way to show ‘sharing’).

3. Language and Literacy

Encourage engagement with unfamiliar people. At a store or café? See a security guard or doorman? Bus driver or neighbor? Get your child comfortable with basic interactions – “Hello”, “Thank you”, “May I please have. . . “

Practice story telling with, “First, next, then, last.”

4. Cognition

  • Build letter sound awareness with initial sound identification. For example, “Apple starts with the sound /a/.”
  • Use mathematical vocabulary while going about your day. “I have 5 apple slices and your have 3. I have 2 more than you.” “Let’s count the stairs one by one.”

5. Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development

  • Support your child’s self–care skills – bathroom independence, getting dressed, putting on outerwear, etc.
  • Build gross motor stamina – Visit different playgrounds, parks, and large rocks/hills for climbing. Encourage your child to walk and take the stairs as much as possible so they can build stamina for the long school day!
  • Offer opportunities to encode and decode – Print some pictures of buildings as inspiration for your child to ‘replicate’ with their own materials or blocks. When your child creates something novel, ask him/her to draw it (if developmentally appropriate).

Building in everyday opportunities, as well as stepping back, offers our child a chance to explore and grow. Model, invite, and have fun! Let me know how it’s going in the comments or by emailing [email protected]


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