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Help Your Child Get Ready for School

This is the question we parents are always trying to answer. It's good that children ask questions: that's the best way to learn. All children have two wonderful resources for
learning--imagination and curiosity. As a parent, you can awaken your children to the joy of learning by encouraging their imagination and curiosity.

Helping Your Child Get Ready for School is one in a series of books on different education topics intended to help you make the most of your child's natural curiosity. Teaching and
learning are not mysteries that can only happen in school. They also happen when parents and children do simple things together.

For instance, you and your child can: sort the socks on laundry day--sorting is a major function in math and science; cook a meal together--cooking involves not only math and
science but good health as well; tell and read each other stories--storytelling is the basis for reading and writing (and a story about the past is also history); or play a game of
hopscotch together--playing physical games will help your child learn to count and start on a road to lifelong fitness.

By doing things together, you will show that learning is fun and important. You will be encouraging your child to study, learn, and stay in school.

All of the books in this series tie in with the National Education Goals set by the President and the Governors. The goals state that, by the year 2000: every child will start
school ready to learn; at least 90 percent of all students will graduate from high school; each American student will leave the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades demonstrating competence in core
subjects; U.S. students will be first in the world in math and science achievement; every American adult will be literate, will have the skills necessary to compete in a global economy, and will be able to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; and American schools will be liberated from drugs and violence so they can focus on learning.

This book is a way for you to help meet these goals. It will give you a short rundown on facts, but the biggest part of the book is made up of simple, fun activities for you and your
child to do together. Your child may even beg you to do them.

As U.S. Education Secretary Lamar Alexander has said:

The first teachers are the parents, both by example and conversation. But don't think of it as teaching. Think of it as fun.

So, let's get started. I invite you to find an activity in this article and try it.

Learning Begins Early


The road to success in school begins early. Good health, loving relationships, and opportunities to learn all help preschool children do well later in life. But many parents
wonder, "How can I give these things to my child?"

This book is for all of you who have asked this question. It's for parents, grandparents, and others who want to know what to do to help young children get ready for school. Throughout the preschool years, you can do many simple things to help your child grow, develop, and have fun learning. This book:

* Describes the qualities and skills that youngsters need to get a good start in kindergarten;

* Tells what to expect from preschoolers each year from birth to age 5;

* Suggests easy activities that help children grow and develop; and

* Explains how to encourage enthusiasm toward school and teachers and make it easier for children to adjust to kindergarten.

Special sections in the back of the book tell how to monitor television viewing and find good programs; and explain how to find suitable child care.

Parents and caregivers are busy people. Most of us have many responsibilities: jobs outside the home, laundry to wash, and groceries to buy. When we are tired and under stress, it's
often hard to feel we are being the best parents.

But however busy we may be, there are lots of things we can do to help our children get ready for school--little things that make a big difference. Many of them cost little or nothing
and can be done as you go about your daily routines.

Mothers and fathers aren't the only people who help children get ready for school. Entire communities share this job. Businesses, schools, government agencies, and religious
and civic organizations help out. So do day care providers, doctors and other health professionals, elected officials, relatives, and neighbors. But no one is more important than
parents, because life's most basic lessons are learned early and at home. The first 5 years are when the groundwork for future development is laid.

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