School Readiness Checklist

One in Eight Kids Isn't Ready. Is Yours?

Child's Play is Serious Business

Without a doubt, the early years from birth to kindergarten comprise the most extraordinary period of development in your child's lifetime. Your child learns through playing, and play is essential to his/her overall well-being.

Play allows your child to create, explore, share, negotiate, problem solve, resolve conflicts and use his/her imagination. Remember that playing with your child is time well spent and will result in his/her being more ready for success in school and life.

(The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds, American Academy of Pediatrics, January 2007)

Milestones & Measurements

There are so many ways to measure your child's progress and growth. Some are observed - the first word. The first step. Other milestones are measured and recorded to evaluate growth-such as weight and height.

But did you know your child should also reach certain milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks and acts? Delays in these areas could be signs of developmental concerns. The earlier these delays are recognized the more you can do to help your child.

This following checklist provides a list of important milestones. If your child is not progressing, as you think he/she should; try our learning activities. They are designed to encourage development through various stages. If you are concerned about your child's development, please consult with your health care provider or other medical professional for further diagnosis and recommendations.

  1. Language & Literacy
  2. Math & Science
  3. Personal & Social Development
  4. Physical & Motor Development
  • Hold conversations, listen, ask and answer questions: Engage child in conversations during routine daily activities. Ask open-ended questions. Provide feedback for child's responses.
  • Listen to and enjoy stories and nursery rhymes: Enjoy "conversations" with books. Relate story events to the child's real life experiences, predict what will happen next. Talk about the settings, characters and their motivations or feelings. Use the story plot for pretend play.
  • Say or sing familiar songs and rhymes: Say nursery rhymes, sing, and play rhyming games, focusing on words that sound alike. Make up new rhymes.
  • Name and describe objects, places, pictures and events: Provide realistic pictures and photos of everyday objects and events. Ask open-ended questions, "What is this child doing? What do you think is going to happen next?"
  • Use imagination to create own stories: Support pretend play by adding props or ideas. Encourage child to dictate or tell a story and illustrate their own books. Don't forget the title page with author.
  • Use complete sentences: Ask open-ended questions that encourage child to think deeply and express their ideas. Example: "What would we have to do to be able to build the tower higher? Tell me your plan." When child responds, repeat what he/she says, adding more information for longer more complex sentences. Listen with your full attention.
  • Follow simple one step directions: Play "Simon Says" without anyone getting "out" so a child can stay in the game for more practice. Include words such as over, under, near, far, beside, between, on, next to, behind, inside, edge and in a row.
  • Recognize words or signs he or she sees often: Collect labels from cereal boxes and familiar logos. Ask, "What do you think this means?" Make picture/word "signs" for places and directions. Example: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, tables, chair, and wash hands.
  • Recognize and try to write his or her name: Write child's name, using lowercase letters (except for the first letter) in clothing, on possessions, and on child's drawings. Refer to these labels. Provide art materials such as sand, string, and paint for creative name writing.
  • Name some familiar letters: Play letter matching games using magnetic letters, blocks, etc. Begin with only uppercase letters and those found in the child's name. Use other high interest words such as: mom, dad, love, or family names. As interest grows, expand to other letters, eventually using lowercase letters.