Preparing Your Child for School
As a parent or caregiver, you play an important role in your child's academic achievement. By taking steps to get involved in your child's education, you can bridge the gap between home and school to ensure your child's success in learning and in life.
These research-based tips provide both practical guidance and valuable information about preparing your child for school.
What should I do before my child starts school?
Before the school year begins, find out as much as you can about the school your child will attend. Schools—even schools in the same district—can differ greatly. Don't rely only on information about a school from other parents; their child might have different needs and expectations from a school than yours.
Ask the school principal for a school handbook. This will answer many questions that will arise over the year. If your school doesn't have a handbook, ask the principal and teachers questions such as the following:
- What teaching methods and materials are used? Are the methods used to teach reading and math based on scientific evidence about what works best? Are science and social studies materials up to date?
- How much time is spent on each subject such as reading, math, science, and history?
- How does the school measure student progress? What tests does it use?
- Does the school meet state standards and guidelines?
- Are teachers highly qualified? Do they meet state certification requirements?
- For children beginning kindergarten, ask: What areas are emphasized in the kindergarten program? How focused is it on academic instruction?
- If you have not seen it, ask to look at the school's report card. These report cards show how your school compares to others in the district and indicate how well it is succeeding.
- Find out if the school has a website and, if so, get the address. School websites can provide you with ready access to all kinds of information—schedules of events, names of people to contact, rules and regulations, etc. Talk with your children about school. Let them know that you think school and learning are important.
Source: U.S. Department of Education.