Orange County’s young children need safe, supportive and nurturing environments to be healthy and ready to succeed in school. First 5 Orange County Children and Families Commission provides funding to our District to support our School Readiness program.
Our School Readiness Core Team is comprised of our Early Learning Specialist, School Readiness Nurse, School Psychologist and Speech and Language Pathologist. The team’s mission is to provide parents with support to ensure 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. All services are free of charge. Please visit the School Readiness Program Website to access current School Readiness referral and participation forms.
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:
- Parent Education
- Development Screenings
- 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 old and their families within the District’s boundaries. The program’s overall goal is for children to be healthy and ready to learn upon entering school. The District provides the following:
- Health Education
- Community Resources
- Resources and Referrals
- Staff Training
- Support the development and implementation of School Entry Plans for identified students
Why is School Readiness an Important Issue Today?
Children’s school readiness is affected by the early care and learning experiences they receive. We know that rich learning experiences directly influence a child’s ability to transition successfully to kindergarten. Being aware of the importance of quality early education and kindergarten expectations can assist families in setting their children up for success.
Recent studies indicate that, despite our growing appreciation of the importance of early education, many children in our community are not receiving quality early learning experiences that will prepare them to enter our Laguna Beach Unified School District Kindergarten programs. Our Early Development Index (EDI) Data from both Fall of 2014 and 2016 indicate that 48% of our kindergarten children lack gross and fine motor skills as well as 49% lack communication and general knowledge. Research indicates that preschoolers who attend high quality programs will:
- 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
Specific ways to help your child, or a child in your care, succeed in school is as follows:
- Engage your child with as much verbal communication as possible. Be fully available to listen and talk with your child which may require you to put your cell phone away.
- 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.
- Encourage your child to problem solve.
- Offer learning opportunities to help your child develop fine and gross motor skills.
- Promote good nutrition and model an active, healthy lifestyle.
- Support learning at home including reading books to your child daily.
- Limit use of electronics as well as TV viewing.
- Communicate with your child’s child care provider or 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 encourage frequent opportunities to have play dates.
- Teach your child to be sensitive to other people’s feelings.
- Teach him/her appropriate safety procedures and how to avoid dangerous situations.
Characteristics most important for a child to successfully transition into Kindergarten:
- Ability to communicate basic needs
- Ability to demonstrate attentive behavior
- Show enthusiasm, interest and desire to learn
- Demonstrate a desire to know things, to want to please, to feel good about themselves
- Display prosocial behavior
School Readiness is funded by a grant from First 5 Orange County Children and Families Commission.