Kids working at a table with a teacher

School Readiness Goals-What Teachers REALLY Wish Kids Knew Before Starting School

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We all worry that our kids will be ready for school. But school readiness is sometimes totally different than what we usually think. What do teachers really wish kids knew before starting school for the best success? For what to expect in a child’s first year of school, check this out.

Child doing a puzzle practicing for school readiness

While people usually focus on cognitive skills when preparing kids for school, there are other things that are far more important for school readiness goals.

Teachers love for kids to learn cognitive skills, of course, but think about the challenges of teaching a classroom full of kids that don’t have social skills or basic self-help skills. Once those things are in place, the teaching environment is ready to go.

There are many things parents can do in their day-to-day routines that will help their kids succeed in school. And the whole class will succeed with them. Teaching kindness and respect, encouraging children to follow simple instructions, and helping kids improve motor skills will help children find success in school.

Parents should help children learn self-regulation. Managing their thoughts and feelings is tough for young kids, but parents can make wonderful role-models for how to respond appropriately.

How can parents accomplish this? A great way is to give kids opportunities to play. They learn so many skills through play. Make sure their schedules are not too over-packed with planned activities so they can explore and build their own skills.

Additionally, allowing them to play with other kids outside of the home is a great way to increase their confidence and help them be more comfortable when it’s time to go to school.

School readiness goals

  • Knowledge Application
  • Social-Emotional Skills
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Innovation and Creative Thinking
  • Positive Disposition for Learning
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creative Innovation
  • Confidence
Child holding her lunch bag ready for school

In Oklahoma and many other states, kids usually start preschool in public school at age 4. However, there are many private preschools that may take kids of different ages between ages 3 and 5, and some as young as 2.

Preschool is not mandatory in Oklahoma, but it’s a great step to transition to school. If you can find a home daycare or even a small daycare center that has a preschool program with a smaller number of kids than there usually are in a school classroom, it can be a wonderful transitional step to ready kids socially for school while still getting some of the cognitive skills you want them to have as well.

What should a 4 year old know before starting school?

What teachers REALLY wish kids knew before they come to preschool, more importantly than letters and numbers, include self help skills, motor skills, and social skills.

In a classroom full of 25 or 30 kids, a teacher cannot stop to tie 25 pairs of shoes. They would love for kids to already have that skill mastered. If they don’t, please send them to school in velcro shoes. Kids need to be able to put on and take off their own jacket, to open their own milk and other lunch foods, and to wipe themselves in the bathroom, get their pants up and down, and wash their own hands well.

When my daughter was young, I thought it was being a good mom to do everything for her and try to make her life perfect without struggle. But I learned really quickly when she got into school, that was a big mistake.

She was unsure, and dropped her tray in the cafeteria often. I so wish I had let her make those mistakes and solve problems on her own at home. It’s hard to do it because we want to coddle our children and give them everything. But it’s such an advantage to them if we don’t.

I try to show this to my daycare parents. To explain the reasons why kids should be independent. And to help them learn self-help skills at Little Sprouts.

These things are a must for success in school. They also need to be able to express themselves and communicate their needs to the teacher. It’s important that children in school know how to interact with other kids and stand up for themselves.

They have to be able to ask for help with their needs and to take turns and share with other kids. The teacher can’t guess what every child needs.

Use a large vocabulary and a lot of big words around children so they can develop an understanding of the meaning of them.

Take kids to the park, the zoo, or other places where they can interact with other kids and build relationships.

Kids cooperating with blocks at a table

There are some things that will help children succeed in school. Kids should be given a chance to practice these skills and master them to meet school readiness goals.

  • Listen and follow simple instructions
  • Communicate their needs
  • Dress and feed themselves
  • Share toys with others and take turns
  • Understand and retell simple stories
  • Match and sort objects
  • Identify basic patterns, shapes, and colors
  • Hold scissors properly and cut along a line
  • Hold a pencil correctly
  • Participate in and recite songs and nursery rhymes
  • Interact well with other children and learn to deal with disappointments
  • Settle a disagreement in a calm manner
  • Pick up their own messes
  • Solve problems on their own
  • Develop positive relationships with other adults such as a childcare provider, health care worker, librarian, etc.

How to be successful in school

Encourage your child to play outside and use all their big muscles. Allow them to draw and paint. Let them use play dough to strengthen their hand muscles. This feather beading activity is a great one to use and it doesn’t cost a lot or take a lot of time to prepare.

Give them opportunities for meaning play, experimentation, and discovery. We want them to observe, ask questions, notice differences and patterns, and solve problems.

Plant seeds, read books, draw pictures, measure things, teach them about compost, and model trusting relationships for them. Give them opportunities for open-ended art, expose them to all kinds of music and poetry. Give them opportunities to experience storytelling and dramatic play. Expose them to all kinds of experiences in nature.

These activities will help your kids learn to sit and listen and engage in learning in a group setting. Basic foundations like knowing their alphabet, number, and colors don’t hurt. But helping kids learn to interact with others and learn basic skills they need to succeed is even more important.

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