Preparing Your Child for School


Scientists who study how the brain works have shown that children learn earlier—and learn more—than we once thought possible. From birth through age 5, children are developing the language, thinking, physical, emotional and social skills that they will need for the rest of their lives.


As a parent, you can help your child “want to learn” in a way no one else can. That desire to learn is a key to your child’s later success. Enjoyment is important! So, if you and your child don’t enjoy one activity, move on to another. You can always return to any activity later on.


What Preschoolers Need

3- to 4-year-old children require opportunities to:

  • Play with other children so they can learn to listen, take turns and share;

  • Develop more physical coordination—for example, by hopping on both feet;

  • Develop their growing language abilities through books, games, songs, science, math and art activities;

  • Develop more self-reliance skills—for example, learning to dress and undress themselves;

  • Count and measure;

  • Participate actively with adults in reading-aloud activities;

  • Explore the alphabet and print; and

  • Attempt to write messages.


4- to 5-year-old children need opportunities to:

  • Experiment and discover, within limits;

  • Develop their growing interest in school subjects, such as science, music, art and math;

  • Enjoy activities that involve exploring and investigating;

  • Group items that are similar (for example, by size, color or shape);

  • Use their imaginations and curiosity;

  • Develop their language skills by speaking and listening; and

  • See how reading and writing are both enjoyable and useful (for example, by listening to stories and poems, seeing adults use books to find information and dictating stories to adults).