Orange County’s young children need safe, supportive and nurturing environments healthy and ready to succeed in life.  The Children and Families Commission of Orange County supports an ever-growing number of programs and organizations so that all children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school.  Our mission is to provide leadership, funding, and support for programs that achieve the vision that all children are healthy and ready to succeed when they enter school.  

Our School Readiness Team is comprised of our Early Learning Specialist and School Readiness Nurse.  This team is here to provide parents with support and ensure that their children from birth to five years of age are developing appropriately.  If referral services are needed, our staff will guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have.  Our goals are to foster healthy children, early learning, strong families, and quality services.  Please visit the parent section of our Forms Page or FAQ Page to access current School Readiness referral and participation forms. 


Sandee Bandettini

Sandee Bandettini

Early Learning Specialist

Kathleen Knott

School Readiness Nurse

What do we mean by School Readiness?

“Readiness" is a term used to describe preparation for what comes next!  Since 1990, one of the top national educational goals has been that all children in America will start school “ready to learn.” The Children and Families Commission of Orange County established the School Readiness Initiative in 2000 to fund school readiness coordinators in every elementary and unified school district.  Readiness coordinators work with school staff, families, community stakeholders, and early care and educational communities to identify service gaps and promote best practices to ensure school readiness for all children.  We offer services to children 0-5 and their families and work with local preschool providers to improve the children’s school readiness by aligning curriculum and connecting centers with parent education, health and social services. We provide:

  • Literacy Training
  • Parent Education
  • Referral Services
  • Transition to Kindergarten
  • Staff Development

The School Readiness nurse’s purpose is to promote lifelong health, and/or facilitate early identification and treatment of health problems in children from birth to five years and their families within the district’s boundaries.  The programs overall goal is that children are healthy and ready to learn upon entering school.

  • Concerns about; Health, Vision, Hearing, Dental, Developmental Milestones
  • Resources and Referrals
  • Parent Health Education Staff and Developmental Training
  • Assistance with development of nursing support plans for children with special needs

Why is School Readiness an Important Issue Today?

Children’s school readiness is affected by the early care and learning experiences they receive.  More women in the work force with preschool children and more single parent families indicate the need for prekindergarten programs.  There are also more children today “at risk” for school success (poverty, limited English, special needs) who need early learning experiences (especially from birth to five years) that can directly influence a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school.  These trends have contributed to a growing awareness of the importance of quality early education and prekindergarten experiences for children.

Recent studies indicate that, despite our growing appreciation of the importance of early education, many children in this country are not receiving quality experience. Research indicates that preschoolers who attend high quality programs:

  • Enter kindergarten with skills necessary for school success
  • Show greater understanding of verbal numerical concepts     
  • Receive higher ratings on social competence
  • Show ability to stay with an activity longer
  • Are more likely to make normal progress through the primary grades
  • Are less often placed in special education classes

Ways to help your child, or a child in your care, succeed in school:

  • Talk with your child. Be available to listen and share information.
  • Pay attention to your child’s strengths. Set high but realistic expectations and help him/her develop realistic self-expectations.
  • Encourage your child to make choices, even if it means making mistakes. Help him learn and grow from these experiences; this fosters self-esteem and confidence.
  • Keep your child healthy; promote good nutrition and model and active, healthy lifestyle.
  • Support learning at home. Share books daily; let your child see you reading and limit TV viewing.
  • Communicate with your child’s school; stay involved and keep informed on a regular basis.
  • Encourage your child to explore and discover the world. Foster new interests and help him make the most of the world around him.
  • Help your child develop friendships and recognize the importance of trust in relationships. Teach your child to be sensitive to other people’s feelings.
  • Keep your child safe; teach him appropriate safety procedures and how to avoid dangerous situations.
  • Encourage community participation and awareness in your child.  Help him learn to take his energy and skills beyond the classroom and to help others.

Characteristics most important for a child to successfully transition into Kindergarten:

  • Ability to communicate basic needs
  • Enthusiasm, high interest, desire to learn, joy of learning
  • Experience…they’ve seen a little of the world
  • Desire to know things, to want to please, to feel good about themselves 


School Readiness is funded by a grant from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County.


550 Blumont St. 
Laguna Beach, CA 92651 
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