As another school year comes to a close, parents of children who haven’t started even attending conventional schools yet may be wondering if it is time for them to send their little tots there in the fall.
Sending a child to school for the first time can be a difficult experience for parents – partly because it is rarely easy to watch a child move on to that next, important milestone, but also because many parents worry that they haven’t made the right decision.
Is my child really ready to attend school? Will he succeed, academically, or have I set him up for failure by asking him to achieve things he simply isn’t ready for?
Will she fit in, socially, or have I endangered her emotional well-being by expecting things she isn’t mature enough for?
PARENTS ARE NOT ALONE
Parents are not alone in their concerns. In fact, the U.S. government’s National Education Goals Panel made school readiness a primary focus of its annual Goals Report beginning in 1995, when it listed the topic first on a list of overarching goals for the United States public education system.
In the report the NEGP – a panel of senators, representatives, governors and professionals – outlined the significance of readiness for kindergarten and elementary school and stressed the importance of access to a high-quality Pre-K program to prepare for it.
PERHAPS UNSURPRISINGLY, EDUCATORS ARE JUST AS INVESTED IN CHILD READINESS AS YOU ARE:
Elizabeth Silverstein – Educational Consultant, Academics Plus
“Establishing strong learning skills and habits early in childhood is the key to building lasting academic success. I would recommend that parents put their child in preschool as soon as they are able. Research shows that birth to 5 years is the time when you can impact your child and their learning the most. Being in a structured learning environment from a young age exposes children not only to early academic skills, but also to skills for classroom behavior and social interaction.
“Academically, being involved in a structured activity will help children develop crucial skills for the classroom such as stamina for learning, attention, and self-regulation. These skills help children to become ‘teachable’ and ready to absorb whatever is presented in the classroom.”
Kindergarten and first-grade teachers agree – children who have attended preschool show a markedly better ability to adjust to the various social, academic and behavioral expectations of elementary school. In particular, children gain exposure to concepts like lining up, cooperating with others, and using items unique to classrooms such as group seating rugs and cubby storage systems. However, with Pre-K entry ages as low as three and with kindergarten entry ages hovering around five, how can you tell your child is ready for the very preschool program that is to prepare him for kindergarten?