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Ways to Support School Readiness

Written by:  Dr. Ellen Wolock, Division of Early Childhood Education
New Jersey Department of Education

More than anything else, parents want their children to do well in school and succeed in life. Young children are already learning at an incredibly rapid pace. Think of how quickly children have gone from being dependent babies to walking and talking, and relatively independent young boys and girls. So, is it time to pull out the workbooks and flashcards? No!!!! You can best support your children’s academic readiness by:

  1. Reading books about topics in which your child shows interest.
  2. Having your child “read” favorite books to you.
  3. Making available lots of materials so that your child can practice writing and drawing.  Don’t forget that children’s “writing” at this age may be scribbles or strings of letter-like forms. Your child’s drawings of a person may look like one large head or a stick figure.

You should encourage your child to pretend play. Dramatic play is how children try out their language skills and roles. It helps them represent and express their observations and experiences. Also, talk with your child and discuss everyday activities, in the car, at the grocery store or while taking a walk.

Remember, your child is absorbing and trying out new vocabulary words and ideas every day.  Listen carefully to what your child says. This will encourage your child to talk more, which will support the development of his or her vocabulary and communication. Don’t forget that children at this age make lots of grammatical errors. Don’t always correct, just gently model the correct grammar usage in your own everyday conversations.

More easy Tips: 

  • Promote independence in an appropriate, fun fashion. Let your child serve himself at mealtime, and clear his/her plate after eating.
  • Sing songs and do finger plays with your child. This will give your child other options through which he/she can communicate.
  • Avoid rote learning activities and limit TV time.  Remember that children learn best when they are active.

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