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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ready to Learn? A look at school readiness in young children (2008)

Lessons in Learning
The research on school readiness carries important implications for those
responsible for pre-school children.

Develop children's verbal abilities
Early family-literacy experiences provide important pre-literacy lessons,
stimulating an interest in and orientation toward literacy, introducing children
to narrative structures and literary conventions, and exposing children to the
syntax and complexity of written language.

Nursery rhymes and songs can also be effective learning tools: children learn
to break words down into their component sounds by playing with rhymes.
Children like rhymes for their cadence and the repetition of sounds. After they
have heard a rhyme or story, the adult reader can pause, allowing the child to
complete the line or thought.

Asking children questions about their experience
communicates to children that their experiences are important and their
descriptions of those experiences are of interest to others. Inviting children to
talk about their drawings or paintings provides the opportunity for children to
speak about something they have produced. It is advantageous to make the
invitation to speak open-ended—"Tell me about ..." —rather than asking a
specific question— "What's that?" or "Is that a dog?"

Develop positive attitudes toward learning
Adults can encourage curiosity and effort.

Develop positive social and emotional responses
Caregivers are very influential in a pre-schooler's social and emotional
development.  Letting children know that anger and frustration are as legitimate as happiness
and feelings of success helps them develop a repertoire of emotional
responses—especially when the boundaries for expressing both positive and
negative emotions are set. It is appropriate to be frustrated and stamp one's
foot, but not on one's sibling. Jumping for joy is great, but not on the furniture.

Maintain attention, provide choice and seek explanations
Being able to maintain attention for a reasonable period of time is as important
in social development as it is in cognitive development.