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    Families are their child's first and most important teacher. Your involvement in their learning is critical to both in preparing them as they enter school and over the course of their educational career.

    All the experience, care and learning opportunities your child receives from birth to five years of age contribute to their School Readiness. The resources below will help you find information and tools to support you in your role as your child's first teacher.

    Washington State Kindergarten Readiness Benchmarks

    The State of Washington has developed a parent guide to the Washington State Kindergarten Readiness Benchmarks which shares examples of typical development and learning of young children from birth to kindergarten.

    Kindergarten Readiness

    Parents and families have a very important role as their child's first teacher. Children learn in different ways and at different rates. They come to school with varying skills. You'll notice that a child who is ready for kindergarten has skills in many distinct areas, such as:

    • Self-care and getting along with others
    • Physical abilities like moving and handling a pencil or crayon, a fork or chopsticks 
    • Listening and speaking
    • Thinking and problem solving
    • Recognizing letters and their sounds, and playing with words
    • Counting and sorting; recognizing shapes and sizes
    • Personal safety and awareness of one's name, home address, etc.  

    In order to help parents and guardians to recognize the abilities typical of most 5- and 6-year old children, Seattle and several nearby school districts prepared and translated a checklist of "Kindergarten Readiness Guidelines." The six areas and the individual skills are drawn from the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS), which teachers used to assess children at the beginning of the school year.

    You can use the list to pinpoint abilities that your child has mastered, and skills you can help strengthen at home. (You don't need to fill out the checklist and turn it into a teacher.)

    The City of Seattle's Early Education Collaborative

    The City of Seattle's Early Education Collaborative has created culturally and linguistically relevant kindergarten readiness guidelines.

    Public Libraries

    Reading, talking and singing with your child is a easy way to build their vocabulary and help them get ready for school. Visiting public libraries, even before children can read exposes, them to the love of books and libraries provide free children's story times and checking out books and music is free. Visit your local public library for more information.

    Parent Resources to Support Early Learning and Kindergarten Readiness

    The Foundation for Early Learning offers resources to help families promote reading, enhance early language development, and prepare their child for kindergarten.

    Resources for Caregivers

    Every time is a learning time for children. If a family friend or neighbor cares for your child, you can ensure your child is learning important skills by having them participate in free community events and play groups.

    Childcare resources provides information for caregivers and connects caregivers with Learn and Play Groups throughout Seattle.

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