Elementary schools across the county are gearing up for next year’s kindergarteners. Parents, teachers and early care and education teachers are preparing by visiting classrooms, attending information nights and hosting “round-ups.”
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Most parents assume if their child is eligible for school then they are ready. I have two children who were October babies and started school when they were 4. My son came home the first day and said, “I know my ABCs, I know my 1, 2, 3s, and I know my colors. Why do I need to go to school?”
My daughter got to the corner of the classroom, stopped, put her hands on her hips, and said, “Mom, are you going to follow me to the class?”
Looking back, one was academically ready and the other socially and emotionally ready.
First 5 El Dorado Commission, in collaboration with the El Dorado County Office of Education, brings kindergarten and early care and education teachers together twice a year to discuss school readiness. Most teachers will tell you they can teach a child academics, but it is difficult to teach them if they don’t play well with others, follow directions or cannot sit and listen to a story for 10 minutes. Readiness is a careful balance of emotional, social and age level development.
How do you know if your child is ready for school?
First, know that you are your child’s first teacher and your relationship has a huge impact on their emotional development. Taking time to play with your child, establishing bedtime routines, reading books and talking about life builds confidence.
Having your child to play with other children is important for social development. Many children are in preschool or other quality child care environments where they learn to share, classroom rules, and work with other children. Children can also benefit from team sports, play dates and attending library story times.
Overall, it is important to know if your child is meeting developmental milestones. Children develop at different rates, but they usually are able to do certain things at certain ages. The best way to monitor your child’s development is to use a screening tool such as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire or ASQ.
First 5 El Dorado provides free access to the ASQ on its Website at first5eldorado.com.
For more information on your child’s development, contact an Early Childhood Specialist at 530-295-2403.