Cary, NC – School registrations have started, and for many parents it is a confusing time. How can parents predict now if their child will be ready to attend Kindergarden in the public schools so many months from now?
What is School Readiness?
The first five years are critical to a child’s lifelong development. Early experiences influence brain development, establishing the neural connections that provide the foundation for language, reasoning, problem solving, social skills, behavior, and emotional health – characteristics that often determine how well a child will do in school and in life.
A recent longitudinal study by the U.S. Department of Education found that if kindergarten children had a positive approach to learning, they were more likely to make progress in math and reading through fifth grade. Similarly, a 2007 study showed that students from programs that focus on social and emotional learning have better school grades and higher achievement test scores (Durlak and Weissmerg).
In a recent study conducted by Bright Horizons, elementary school teachers shared their views on what they believe to be the most important factors for any child to succeed in a public or private school setting.
96% of teachers surveyed indicated they believe that social and emotional preparedness are the most important outcomes of a child’s preschool experience in order for them to be poised for academic success in the elementary years.
- Teachers agree that key indicators for kindergarten and first grade readiness are the ability to accept new responsibilities and possession of greater independence; a strong enthusiasm for learning; an ability to make new friends; and the ability to respect others.
- 96% believe the child’s preschool experience played a critical role in the child’s preparedness for school.
Parents’ Perspective on School Readiness
Today’s parents share high expectations for early achievement. 90% of parents surveyed cited academic preparedness as the most important factor in their child’s preschool experience. They want to ensure that their children enter school ready to meet or exceed academic expectations and with a demonstrable ability to apply their newly developing skills in reading, writing and math.
Preparing Your Child for School
There’s no reason for most parents to be anxious about school readiness. Children who come from homes where adults read, spend engaged time with their children, value literacy, and/or have some social interactions with other children in child care, play groups, or preschool are usually well prepared for kindergarten.
Some Common Myths
- Myth #1 – Learning the ABC’s is crucial to school readiness.
- The Truth: While important, learning the ABC’s is a memorization skill. It’s more important that children recognize letters and identify their sounds.
- Myth #2 – Children need to count to 50 before going to grade school.
- The Truth: Again while it is important that children understand the order of numbers it is far more important to understand the idea of 1-to-1 correspondence (each number counted corresponds to an object, person, etc.) and understanding quantity.
- Myth #3 – The more teacher-directed the learning, the better.
- The Truth: Children internalize concepts more fully when they are actively engaged in exploration and learning versus being told by someone else. Teachers should be there to guide learning.
- Myth #4 – The more a program looks like the school we remember as a child the more children will learn.
- The Truth: Young child learn best in an environment that allows them to make choices; to select their own materials for at least part of the day; and empowers them to try new things with a teacher who guides the learning.
- Myth #5 – Children need quiet to learn.
- The Truth: Children need a language-rich environment where adults provide responsive language interactions and where vocabulary is regularly introduced.
- Myth #6 – Learning to write is all about letter formation.
- The Truth: While letter formation is one part, even more important is understanding the idea of recording one’s ideas on paper. When a child makes some scribbles and says “This is my daddy,” write your child’s words on the picture and she will begin to make connections between spoken and written words.
Learning some “school skills” like lining up and raising hands before transitioning to school will certainly help make the transition to formal schooling easier; however, what is most important is giving children the chance to fully explore and experiment in an environment with caring adults who guide, support, and extend their learning.
CaryCitizen Schools Guide
To see a listing of all schools located within Cary Town limits visit the CaryCitizen CaryCitizen Schools Guide. Public, private and pre-schools are all listed with locations, phone numbers and grades taught.
Content provided with permission by Bright Horizons Family Solutions. Photo by Hal Goodtree.