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10 Everyday Ways You Can Help Create Ready Learners Right Where You Are!

December 11, 2015 - Posted in Education

This week, South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness unveiled the “Profile of the Ready Kindergartner” – the new description of school readiness for the State of South Carolina and the [I CAN] public awareness campaign to promote it statewide.

We know what you might be thinking:

Why is “school readiness”  important enough for a statewide awareness campaign?

What does “readiness” mean in real language?

How does it apply to regular people like you and me?

When most of us think of educational readiness, we probably think of older learners like those graduating from high school. {Such as SC’s “Profile of the Ready Graduate.”}

But the reality is this:

Kindergarten readiness is the most important readiness of all.

Research continually shows that young children who are “ready” for kindergarten are more likely to experience later academic success. Conversely, the absence of a readiness foundation can contribute to even greater disparities and disadvantages later on in life.

Readiness isn’t simply a set of skills. Rather, readiness is built upon a foundation for success. As parents, caregivers, educators, or community members, we’re all building blocks in this foundation.

Let’s talk briefly about the three most crucial building blocks: family, community, and schools. Then we’ll look at 10 everyday ways you {yes, you!} can help set young children up for a successful future.

1. Ready Kindergartners have the foundation of FAMILY AND CAREGIVERS who provide safe and loving homes, attend to their children’s health needs, create language rich environments, and provide opportunities for learning.

2. COMMUNITIES that support the Ready Kindergartner provide safety, access to health resources, and have developmentally supportive environments (whether a loving home, a high-quality early education setting or both

3. SCHOOLS & EDUCATORS for the Ready Kindergartner understand that each child develops on a unique timeline and are prepared to meet the unique needs of all students. They are knowledgeable about child development and early learning. They provide emotionally safe learning environments and are equipped to support the needs of their students’ parents and caregivers.

{Readiness foundations paraphrased from www.ican.sc.}

Again, we know what you might be thinking…

“Only in a perfect world will homes, communities, and schools ever provide all of these things all of the time!” And you’re right. There is a gap between “the real” and “the ideal.”

But let’s not discard goals altogether simply because they sound idealistic.

While no foundation will ever be perfect, awareness of the importance of school readiness is where we must all begin.

That’s where the [I CAN] Campaign comes in.

The more aware we are of readiness foundations, the more intentional we become as we support young children and their families in our community.

Here are 10 everyday ways [YOU CAN] help build a foundation for school readiness right where you are:

1. As a parent, I CAN read to my young child, knowing that daily reading to children puts them almost 1 year ahead of those who are not being read to.

2. As a member of a faith community, I CAN serve in the nursery and other early childhood programs, knowing that parents of young children are better parents when they get a break.

3. As a new parent, I CAN create a language-rich environment for my baby, knowing that talking is teaching.

4. As someone who loves children, I CAN volunteer in early childhood classrooms at my local school, knowing that teachers need support and children need love. 

5. As someone who has a heart for vulnerable familes, I CAN give of my time and resources to local organizations who provide services and support to the families of young children.

6. I CAN take a meal to a new mom

7. I CAN encourage the workers at my child’s day care center. 

8. I CAN make sure my grandchild gets the health care he needs.

9. I CAN donate books to my local church, preschool, or child care center.  

10. I CAN pay attention to weary parents I see in the checkout line, offering a word of encouragement, a helping hand, or a soda from the cooler. 

I CAN make a difference, right where I am.

We forget that readiness tasks are everyday tasks. We don’t need a degree in education or lots of free time.

It’s about paying attention to the ways we can help, right where we are.

It’s about being aware of just how important readiness is for long-term success and being willing to support young children and their families as we go about the business of our everyday lives.

If you’d like to know everyday ways that you can nurture the young children and their families in your life, subscribe to our blog where we provide FREE tips and everyday encouragement! {You can do that in the top right sidebar of the blog.}

We’d love to hear your thoughts? Fill in the blank with your favorite everyday way to create ready learners:

I CAN _______________.

You can add a comment here on the blog or chime in on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

By Marian Vischer, Communications Coordinator

Find more information here.

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