Educational Preparedness for the Next Level: Elementary School

Educational and social readiness are two terms that may sound overwhelming in theory.  The challenge is determining what kinds of experiences will help support your child’s social, physical, and academic needs.  Whether you have four years or one year to prepare your child for kindergarten, the following list will guide you in the right direction!

Daily Schedules

A clock dictates your preparations from breakfast to bedtime.  Take the expectation one step further and begin communicating expectations each day.   For instance, “After breakfast, let’s work on a puzzle together, and before lunch, we will read.”  As educational moments occur, children can learn to differentiate between skills that require full attention or enhance playtime. Establish rules to hold your child accountable in ten-minute increments.

Establishing Independence

Milestones play a vital role in a child’s development. As doctors often provide a detailed list at scheduled wellness appointments, so you should focus on developmentally appropriate skills that emphasize self-care and organization. Examples may include placing dirty clothes in a hamper, listening to a story without interruption, and returning books to a bookshelf.

Academic Readiness

By the time a child reaches 18 months old, he or she will recognize and correctly identify the names of colors, letters, and numbers. Television programs; books; songs; games; scheduled story times; playgrounds; day trips; one-on-one, and group, conversations; and hands-on activities will aid in boosting a child’s understanding towards a level of independence.  Create a handmade number line, and list capital and lower-case letters, too.  Children will enjoy fingerspelling and receiving praise in the form of a sticker (above each symbol). Each day, engage your child in an educational activity!

Paper and Pencil!

The number-one complaint from children and teens regarding handwriting is the uncomfortable cramping sensation felt in the fingers.  By the time your child reaches third grade, roughly 50% of their classwork will utilize a keyboard rather than paper and pencil. It will be up to you to practice penmanship and teach cursive.  Begin by showing how to grasp a pencil or crayon properly and to make horizontal, vertical, and other lines at various degrees within a perimeter.  In addition to writing their first and last name, children should practice using a glue stick and scissors.


Starting at age two, preschoolers can gain the necessary educational, emotional, and social skills in an enriched learning environment. Quietly sitting at a desk and independently working teaches the rules of listening to verbal directions and remaining patient or raising a hand.  Additionally, lunch-bunch programs allow children to practice unpacking, eating, and cleaning up in a social setting.  Sickness is inevitable; yet, exposure results in a boost to your child’s immunity.

Create a Goodbye Routine!

Two may seem much too young to attend a half-day preschool; however, the separation is a necessity for your child and you.  Some children will not leave without a glance back, eager to meet peers, while others may cling and incite you to tears of worry.  Try reassuring words or a small charm to reduce fears.

An Approach to Study Skills

Temper tantrums are a defense mechanism for young children to release frustration in not being able to communicate their feelings, emotions, or words properly.  Transition the negative experience by determining the solution. Perhaps, a remedy is working together, taking turns, verbal guidance, praise, or a well-needed break.

Social Readiness

Young children need opportunities to practice relating and interacting socially with peers.  Children at play solve problems, create, experiment, and engage in all the fundamental skills necessary for a thriving classroom environment. They will take turns, share, understand, communicate, and welcome new arrivals while working together.  Children need time to play independently with one other in small to large groups.  Wonderful conversations can evolve from interactions.  It’s never too early to discuss themes centered in friendship, which include kindness, appropriate behavior, and sharing.

Tip:  Encourage your child to resolve his or her conflicts.  By providing guidance, your child will learn from the experiences and find an inner self-confidence in each act!

Tip:  Introduce yourself to your local public librarian, who will happily offer popular, age-appropriate reading suggestions.

The early years are an exciting time of fast growth, curiosity, and new experiences!  Stay on track in promoting new ways to prepare your little one for the next big, educational step, kindergarten.

Next Month:  Educational Preparedness Presents Middle School



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