School Readiness at Bright Horizons

School readiness is a step towards future readiness. Learning to read, write, and do arithmetic are very important for being ready for kindergarten, but school readiness is much more than memorizing letters, facts, and figures.

Learning to apply that knowledge and integrate it in real life are the future-ready skills that children truly need. We know that children are more successful in life when we support all aspects of their development including physical, social-emotional, and cognitive growth.

preschoolers in the classroom
At Bright Horizons, kindergarten readiness includes teaching social-emotional skills, critical thinking and problem solving, innovation and creative thinking, and encouraging a positive disposition for learning. From the start, in our infanttoddler, and preschool, and kindergarten prep programs, we make sure learning is fun and exciting by pursuing children’s interests and building learning into everyday experiences. We help children believe in their personal abilities and skills, empowering them to grow into confident, successful, lifelong learners.

Bright Horizons incorporates the following characteristics to create a high-quality early childhood program that focuses on school readiness:

  • Opportunities for meaningful play, project work, experimentation, and discovery. Children must understand not only what to learn but also how to learn. We want children to observe; ask questions; notice similarities, differences, and patterns; and solve problems, all aspects of critical thinking

  • Math, literacy, and science interwoven throughout the day, rather than in isolation (worksheets and flash cards). For example, while planting a garden in a center or classroom, the children read books about plants, make signs and notes, measure the garden area, learn about soil and composting, count out and plant seeds, and care for and harvest the garden. The learning is rich, immediate, and relevant, and tends to stick with children. Our classrooms have designated math, science, an writing centers open to children each day.

  • An emphasis on trusting relationships and caring social interactions.Social-emotional development is the foundation for all other learning and must be a priority. Teachers understand that young children are still learning and will make mistakes. Children are gently guided and encouraged as they gain confidence and learn to collaborate, communicate, and resolve conflict with each other.

  • Well-rounded literacy activities. In addition to learning the letters of the alphabet, children must develop vocabulary, listen and communicate effectively, and view reading and writing as pleasurable and important ways to share ideas and gain knowledge. Children gain literacy skills by listening to and reading stories, having meaningful conversations, writing notes, graphs, and stories, and conducting research for projects.
  • Open-ended art, storytelling, poetry, dramatic play, music, and experiences in nature. Children often use these experiences to access other kinds of information and learning; additionally, they build creativity and critical thinking as they participate in the arts and nature. The natural world is a laboratory that encourages risk, critical thinking, observation, imagination, and creative innovation. 

As we prepare children to be ready for their journey from child care into school programs, we focus equally on all aspects of development — cognitive, physical, and social-emotional. We know that this approach gives children their best chance for healthy, happy, successful lives.

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"Now that my daughter is in kindergarten, I see just how effective Bright Horizons was in preparing her. The school taught her how to participate in a group setting, to interact with other children, and to think through problems.." - Bright Horizons Parent

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FAQs About School Readiness

What does school readiness mean? 

Children should enter their first years of elementary school with an ability to comprehend broader language and math concepts, but also feel prepared for the social and emotional demands of school. Key indicators of a child’s readiness for kindergarten and first grade include:

  1. Readiness to accept new responsibilities and greater independence
  2. Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  3. A strong enthusiasm for learning
  4. Innovative and creative thinking
  5. The ability to make new friends and respect others

How does Bright Horizons help prepare children for school? 

Bright Horizons prepares children to be ready for their journey from child care and into school programs by focusing equally on all aspects of development: cognitive, physical, and social-emotional. We know that this approach gives children their best chance for healthy, happy, successful lives.

How can I prepare my child for school? 

Tips for School Readiness at Home:

1. Talk with your child. Encourage expressions of feelings and find time to share love and appreciation. These moments build your child’s confidence and ability to communicate and collaborate.

2. Read to your child. Instilling a love of reading will allow your child to learn content throughout their lives and also builds vocabulary, literacy learning, and even perspective taking.

3. Play with your child. Blocks, active games, and silly moments all forge communication and collaboration and nurture cognitive skills such as impulse control, working memory, and regulating behaviors.

4. Experience nature. The natural world is a laboratory that encourages risk, critical thinking, observation, imagination, and creative innovation.

5. Build social-emotional skills. Building emotional literacy (recognizing feelings, naming them, and knowing how to manage them) is good for school and great for life. Practice social skills like meeting a new person, separating for parents, managing feelings, sharing, joining into play, and more are the most valued school readiness skills from teachers.

6. Develop a growth mindset. Believing in your own personal abilities and growing a sense of determination are skills you can encourage in a young child. Use process praise (e.g. you never gave up!) versus product praise (e.g. you are so smart).  This focus on abilities, tenacity, and growth can influence school success more than IQ.

7. Learn to love learning. Lifelong learning is a lifelong pursuit but many children begin to lose enthusiasm for learning as they get older.  Make sure learning is fun and exciting by pursuing children’s interests, building learning into everyday experiences, and avoiding a focus on right/wrong. 

 

What are some skills needed for kindergarten?

Skills needed for kindergarten include: an ability to comprehend broader language and math concepts, as well as be prepared for the social and emotional demands of school. Teachers agree that key indicators of a child’s social and emotional readiness for kindergarten and first grade are readiness to accept new responsibilities and greater independence, a strong enthusiasm for learning, an ability to make new friends, and the ability to respect others.

What is the difference between preschool and pre-k? 

Both preschool and pre-k curriculums address children’s needs, but pre-kindergarten is distinct and separate from preschool. Think of pre-kindergarten as an integral bridge between preschool and kindergarten. Both preschool and pre-kindergarten emphasize rich, inquiry-based experiences, but a pre-kindergarten program dives deeper into kindergarten readiness. Read more about the similarities and differences between preschool and pre-kindergarten to help you choose a program that’s right for your child.