Some places in the United States don’t require any schooling for children before the 1st grade. Most do, however, provide some formal educational opportunities before that. Why? The benchmarks and requirements for a 1st grader in most states is more rigorous than they were just ten years ago. Our kids need to know more at a younger age than kids of previous generations. This is one of the reasons that sound early learning strategies need to be employed for young children of all demographics. Establishing a solid foundation and a love of learning early in children will help them tackle so much of what life throws at them.
There’s not an educational expert alive who won’t tell you that reading skills are foundational for a child’s education. Many high schools and most colleges have someone on staff devoted to increasing literacy through every class offered in every subject as a response to this idea. However, practices adults employ when a child is young can positively affect a child’s ability to process what and how he or she reads later in life. As adults, reading out loud to a child and tracking the words across the page with your finger is a proven method for increasing literacy. Repetitive reading of the same texts also increases the child’s ability to recognize words by sight.
Math skills are incremental. This means that what your child learns about math in 1st grade will be the base of knowledge for what they’ll learn in 2nd grade and so on. You can help your child by playing counting games and teaching them number recognition early so that when they get in the classroom, those skills can lend them confidence as they branch out into learning addition and subtraction. You can easily mix math with fun by counting jumping jacks, the number of colors of sidewalk chalk you’re using or how many bubbles you blow.
Give our children a solid foundation and it increases their opportunities for success.