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Parents  >  Checklists  >  Early Care and Education

Early Care and Education

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School readiness is not so much about what children know when they enter kindergarten, but how they have grown as part of a family, a neighborhood and a preschool or child care program. The following indicators are important to a child’s success in school and throughout life.


Physical Health – Children are physically healthy when they have good nutrition, exercise, and gross and fine motor development.

  • Social and Emotional Development – A child’s ability to express his/her own feelings and to understand the feelings of others
  • Language Development – The ability of children to ask for what they want and need, share what they think and feel, and talk with others
  • Thinking and Approaches to Learning – Children need to make connections between what they already know and new experiences. Children should come to school curious about the world

Family members and caregivers should recognize that they are a child’s first teacher. This applies from newborns through toddlers and preschoolers. Children who start kindergarten after being in the safe care of nurturing adults are prepared to succeed in school.  

  • Adults spend time talking and playing with the child. Responsive care contributes to the child’s developing self-confidence
  • Physical and emotional needs are responded to. Affection and nurturing builds the child’s developing self-esteem. Opportunities to experience and resolve human conflict cooperatively
  • Adequate nutrition and medical/dental care
  • Social experiences with other young children; learning the give-and-take of satisfying relationships with others; the experience of being respected and of respecting others
  • Read and sung to, told stories
  • Stimulated by and interacted with the world around them. Support to explore and develop new skills and capabilities

It is important for child care providers to work closely with parents in order to address the needs of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Whenever possible, provide your child with a consistent, long term and stable child care setting.


Researchers in the fields of science and economics report that investments in early learning have a big impact on how well children do in school. This then impacts how successful they are as adults, which leads to a better economy and a better quality of life.

Investments in early learning have a big impact on how well children do in school