Being Ready for School

What to Know

What It Means To Be Ready?

“Ready or not, here I come!” This is a common phrase we hear used by young children in their play. It takes on a whole new meaning; however, when we use it to refer to a child who is entering kindergarten. National, state, and local efforts struggle with defining “school readiness.” In 1999, the National Education Goals Panel identified five areas that are important to a child’s successful start to school:

  1. Children’s health and well-being
  2. Social and emotional development
  3. Approaches to learning
  4. Language development
  5. General knowledge about the world around them

The “academics” usually considered part of the definition of readiness was not specifically included. This is because these items can be taught and learned by any child whose needs in the five areas have been met. This approach to readiness is often referred to as “developmentally appropriate practices.”

In a recent study, 92% of kindergarten teachers ranked healthy, rested and well-nourished children as the number one quality of successful kindergartners. More than half of the teachers rated the following as essential to school readiness:

  • Vision, hearing and dental problems are detected and addressed
  • A child knows his name and has a basic awareness of self, family and community
  • A child can follow basic rules and routines

It is never too early to start providing the kinds of experiences that will help a child enter school ready and eager to succeed. Children are born ready to learn. They are naturally curious beings. Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when learning is fun.

Parents/guardians and preschool teachers make a dynamic team when it comes to preparing children for school. An adult’s support, interest, and enthusiasm go a long way to giving a child self-esteem which is key to preparedness. A child will often display these skills prior to entering kindergarten:

Personal Needs

Prior to entering kindergarten, a child will often, without help, be able to…

  • Use the toilet
  • Wash hands
  • Put on and take off coat
  • Tie shoes
  • Snap, button, zip and belt pants
  • Use silverware
  • Eat unassisted
  • Put away toys when asked

Social Skills

Prior to entering kindergarten, a child will be able to…

  • Follow two-step directions
  • Cooperate with other children
  • Play with other children without hitting or biting
  • Sit still for up to 10 minutes
  • Follow rules

Intellectual Skills

Prior to entering kindergarten, a child will be able to…

  • Hold a book upright and turn pages from front to back
  • Sit and listen to a story
  • Know first and last name
  • Know some songs and rhymes
  • Tell and retell familiar stories
  • Know own age

Health Needs

Prior to entering kindergarten, a child needs…

  • Required immunizations
  • Dental check-ups
  • Regular nutritious meals
  • To run, jump, skip, climb, swing, use balls

Remember children develop at their own pace and in their own way. Recent research suggests that many factors go into determining “readiness.” They vary for each child, family and situation. As defined by the National Education Goals Panal, readiness includes ready children, ready families, ready communities, ready early care and education, and ready schools. All are necessary so that all children will experience success.

ready for prek

Our Partners

division of early learning / vpk


seminole county gov logo


florida prepaid college


united way logo


seminole state college

Early Learning Coalition of Seminole

280 Hunt Park Cove
Longwood, FL 32750-7567
Phone: 407-960-2460
Fax: 407-960-2489

Hours of Operation

Monday - Thursday 7:00 am - 6:00 pm Fridays - Closed

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