Helping children prepare to succeed

Child Trends has released a new research brief on school readiness that aims to answer the question: Will children be ready to succeed in school, and how best can we support their success? The information is based on the work of Child Trends with US state policy makers and a review of existing literature on the topic. They offer the following five “things to know”:

  1. School readiness is a puzzle with multiple pieces, and families, communities, and schools all share responsibility in putting the pieces together to support children’s success in school.
  2. There are five areas of skills and development that will help young children be ready to succeed in school. These are health and physical development, social and emotional development, language and communication, approaches to learning, and cognitive development and general knowledge.
  3. It is especially important to think about high-quality early childhood experiences for children at risk of later difficulties in school. Research has shown that children from low-income families benefit from high-quality early care and education.
  4. School readiness starts at birth. Children’s early experiences, particularly from birth to age five, are critical to their brain development and lifelong health.
  5. School readiness assessment should have a clear purpose and be comprehensive.

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