Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner

School Preparation Checklist

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Getting Your Child (or Grandchild) Ready for School


Are you trying to get your child ready for a first school experience? This handy checklist may help. It’s best to look at the items on the list as goals and tackle them one-by-one, checking them off as the goal is attained.


If your child excels in some areas and lag behind in others, that’s okay! Children grow and develop at different rates.




My child:


___gets plenty of rest


___eats lots of fruits and vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals


___eats burgers, fries, pizza, cakes, cookies and pie once a week or less


___visits well child clinic or is seen by a medical practitioner and dentist regularly


___has received all the necessary immunizations or has a medical or religious exemption filed at       the school


___runs, jumps, plays outdoors and does other activities that help develop large muscles and

      provide exercise


___colors, paints, scribbles, works puzzles, and does other activities that help develop small               muscles




My child:


___explores and tries new things


___can do many tasks alone (dress self, put dirty clothes in hamper, pick up toys, e.g.)


___is learning to cooperate and play with other children


___is curious about learning and asks many questions


___is learning to finish tasks and put materials away


___is learning self-control of feelings and actions


___can follow simple instructions


___helps with family chores or activities




My child:


___is given many opportunities to talk (Often, ask your child: What do you think? What do you          feel? What do you want? What’s wrong? What do you need? How can I help?)


___is given many opportunities to listen (Turn on music, a movie or TV program, and suggest,           Let’s be quiet and listen. Then we’ll talk about what we heard


___is read to every day (Bedtime is a good time to read something soothing as a preparation

      for sleep, but you can also read the newspaper aloud at a meal or snack time or any other



___has access to books and other reading materials either at home or at the library


___is learning about print and books (Read the newspaper to the child; take the child to the

      library during story hour; teach the child about library cards.)


___has his television viewing monitored by an adult


___is encouraged to ask questions (Examples: We just saw a movie, what questions do you

      have about what you saw? We just came back from the zoo, what questions do you have

      about what happened?


___is encouraged to solve problems by being given two choices (Examples: Do you want a                 muffin or a piece of toast? Do you want an orange or an apple? Do you want to take off your        clothes first or brush your teeth? Do you want to hang your stuffed animals up first or pick up       your books?)


___has opportunities to notice similarities and differences (Examples: How is this dish like

      a bowl? How is it different? How is a banana like a grape? How are they different? How

      is a fly like a worm? How is it different? How is a flower like a tree? How is it different?)


___is encouraged to sort and classify things (Examples: give the child a set of stainless steel               measuring cups or bowls; a book on birds, fish, flowers, plants, or animals; let your child              help you sort the laundry and then fold and put away clothes once they’re dry.)


___is learning to write her name and address


___is learning to count and plays counting games


___is learning to identify and name shapes and colors (Examples: always ask the child to name

      and give the shape of a food or item you’re working with in the house as well as what color          it is; while riding in the car, ask the child to find a purple or blue or yellow or green item and

      call out its name and shape.)


___has opportunities to draw, listen to and make music, and to dance


___has opportunities to get firsthand experiences to do things in the world---see and touch

      objects, hear new sounds, smell and taste foods and watch things move (Examples: take

      the child to a petting zoo, museum, library, movie, restaurant, picnic, concert, gallery,

      planetarium, country or woodsy setting, farm, ball park, tennis court, beach.)





Armbruster, Bonnie G., Lehr, Fran and Osborn, Jean. 2001. Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read. Kindergarten through Grade Three. Washington, DC: National Institute for literarcy (available online at www.nifl.gov).


Dickinson, David K. And Tabors, Patton O. 2001. Beginning Literacy with Language: Young Children Learning at Home and School. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing CO.


Hannigan, Irene. 1998. Off to School: A Parent’s-Eye View of the Kindergarten Year. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Neuman, Susan B., Copple, Carol and Bredekamp, Sue. 2000. Learning to Read and Write: Develpomentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.


National Association for the Educdation of Young Children. 1999. Ready to Go: What Parents Should Know about School Readiness. Washington, DC.


Trelease, Jim. 2001. The Read-Aloud Handbook. New York: Penguin.


Suggested by the U.S. Department of Education’s publication, Helping Your Preschool Child. Washington DC 20202.

For information on helping your child or grandchild succeed in school, click on this line

For information on helping your child or grandchild learn math concepts, click on this line

For information on helping your child or grandchild learn to read, click on this line

For information on helping your child or grandchild with homework, click on this line

Think positive and you'll be positive!

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