University of Illinois Extension
Skipnavigation Nibbles ... Ideas for Families

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Challenges of Parenting
Learning to Get Along
Playtime Is Fun Time
The Day Care Routine

Getting Ready for School

Many parents worry about what and how much their child should know before they arrive at school. There are no hard and fast rules for what teachers look for, and expectations can differ from school to school. Here are some things you might want to think about.

  • Can your child name and identify letters in the alphabet?
  • Can your child name and identify numbers and count from one to ten?
  • Can your child name and identify figures and shapes (squares, circles and triangles)?
  • Can your child label and identify the primary colors (red, blue and yellow)?
  • Can your child recognize his/her printed name? Can your child print his first and last name?
If you decide to work with your child in any of these areas, remember, make it fun. Make learning part of your day. Point out interesting words and numbers during your daily activities. Ask your child, "Is your plate round or square?" Try putting a sign on your child's room with his name printed on it or make a special T-shirt with her name on it. Learning should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your child.

Staying Informed
It is just as important for you, as a parent, to get ready for school as it is for your child. Contact your local elementary school and become familiar with the school's policies, practices and expectations. Check out the parent-teacher organization. Be an informed parent and active in your child's school. Studies show that informed and involved parents have a major impact on their children's school success.