What is School Readiness?

One aspect of school readiness is getting children ready for school. We must look at the entire development of the child over all learning domains: Language and Literacy, Social and Emotional Development, Cognition, Approaches to Learning, and Physical Health and Motor Skills. Below are some example indicators for each learning domain and ways you can help develop these school readiness skills.

Domain Sample School Readiness Indicators Ways You Can Help Develop Skills
and Literacy
  • Recognizes relationships between letters and sounds
  • Expresses wants, needs, and thoughts using verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Identifies letters of the alphabet
  • Enjoys listening to and discussing a variety of books
  • Becomes more aware of print at home and in the community
  • Read to your child every night at bedtime.
  • Ask your child to describe artwork they have created.
  • Play silly rhyming games: What rhymes with cat? Real and made-up words count.
  • Ask your child to tell you a story or make one up together. 
  • Invite your child to illustrate and describe a scene from his/her favorite book. Write the description on the back of the drawing and read it together.
Social and Emotional Development
  • Exhibits positive social behaviors when interacting with peers
  • Begins to understand how their actions affect others
  • Progresses in responding sympathetically to peers who are upset, hurt, angry, etc.; expresses caring for others 
  • Develops an awareness of self and describes abilities, characteristics, and preferences
  • Assign age-appropriate chores your child can complete independently (dust with socks on their hands, set the table, put dirty clothes in laundry hamper, feed pet dinner, etc.)
  • When reading together, ask your child how he/she thinks the characters feel in situations.
  • Take your child grocery shopping and encourage him/her to ask questions of people who work there to satisfy curiosities. 
  • Recognizes basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, etc.)
  • Makes comparisons among objects and materials
  • Matches, counts, and groups objects 
  • Begins to associate a written numeral with an amount
  • Likes to participate in simple investigations, test observations, and discuss conclusions
  • Play simple memory matching games with playing cards. Encourage your child to name the numeral on the card and/or count the number of objects on the card.
  • Using coins, have your child extend a simple pattern (penny, nickel, penny, nicklel etc.) Ask your child to create his/her own pattern.
  • Take a walk outside and look for shapes in nature together.
  • Cook and bake together; your child can help measure ingredients, mix and stir, pour and dump, etc.
  • When reading or watching TV, ask your child what he/she thinks will happen next.
to Learning
  • Follows directions
  • Is eager to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics
  • Takes turns and works cooperatively with others
  • Shows curiosity, inventiveness, and persistence on tasks
  • Allow your child to make independent choices (clothes to wear, book to check out from library, etc.).
  • Play the "What if . . ." game. "What if it rained jellybeans?"
  • Ask your children about topics or things he/she is interested in.
  • Encourage your child to think of new or different ways to solve a problem.
Health and Motor Skills
  • Develops growing dexterity and control when using scissors, writing tools, art tools, etc.
  • Shows increasing proficiency and control when climbing, running, skipping, hopping, and galloping
  • Gains increasing coordination when throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing balls, and using the slide and swing
  • Actively participates in games, outdoor play, and other physical activities
  • Visit a park/playground together. Your child will build climbing, running, and jumping skills.
  • Your child can practice writing his/her name many ways: with crayon and paper, tracing the letters you have written, using finger to write name in flour or shaving cream, creating playdough letters, etc.
  • Practice zipping, buttoning, tying, and lacing.
  • Reinforce healthy habits such as hand washing, covering mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue, etc.