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Part 2 – School Readiness: How to Prepare Your Child for Core Learning

Part 2 – School Readiness: How to Prepare Your Child for Core Learning
Posted on August 15, 2016 by CHS

What is “School Readiness”?

(See Part 1 – School Readiness: How to Prepare Your Child for Academic Learning)

When your child starts kindergarten, he will transition from spending most days at home with parents and siblings, to spending time with other children in unfamiliar circumstances. He’ll have to learn to relate to other children and get comfortable sharing toys and working in groups.

This means that academic skills are not all that a child needs to be ready to start school. So what other skills do they need? And how do you prepare them for success?

Core Competencies

Referred to as “Core Competencies”, these inner strength skills include resilience, social skills, self-regulation, well-being, and critical thinking. Once again, do not think that you have to figure this out on your own!

Below is a list of what these skills are, and tips for how you can help your child learn and grow.

Resilience – the ability to withstand stress, cope with challenges, and keep trying when confronted with failure.

Teaching tips:

  • Keep a consistent schedule so children learn to trust that parents will return after school.
  • Play games that require self-control and taking turns like using swings, going down a slide, soccer, or basketball.
  • Allow your child to do as much for himself as possible, such as getting dressed or tying his shoes; give support when they are frustrated and praise their efforts.

Social Skills – getting along with others, forming strong positive attachments, resolving conflicts, and being honest.

Teaching tips:

  • Provide opportunities for children to play together, such as enrolling them in sports or music activities, or playing board games with friends.
  • Help your children label and talk about their emotions.

Self-Regulation – the ability to control urges and behavior, identify emotions, and respond accordingly

Teaching tips:

  • When children are playing together, let them learn to wait for a turn, negotiate, and resolve conflicts independently. Turn-taking activities can include blowing bubbles or using a slide on a playground.
  • Help your child learn to cope with stress and setbacks by teaching him how to slow down and remain calm.

Well-being – good mental, emotional, and physical health and positive self-esteem

Teaching tips:

  • Eat at least one family meal per day where you and children can share thoughts and feelings.
  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep, healthy meals before and at school, and time to play outside; it is hard for children to focus and engage in learning when they are tired, hungry, or ill.

Critical Thinking – the ability to plan, set goals, apply reason and logic, and analyze information

Teaching tips:

  • Ask children open-ended questions: Why did your blocks tumble? Why did your milk spill? What do you think will happen next?
  • Allow children to create with reusable objects such as cardboard, paper, empty tissue boxes, scissors, tape, etc.
  • Help your child come up with a plan for getting ready for school in the morning, or a list of what needs to be done to clean up their room. Try a visual plan like this that’s easy to understand and follow. (Download examples)


For more tips about teaching your child and preparing them for school, download our School Readiness Brochure and School Readiness Kit, or listen to the School Readiness podcast.

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