READ: Top 6 Things Your Child Should Know Before Starting School

It is a common believe that school is the place learning begins. It is also a commonly held belief that learning starts in Kindergarten for some. However, these things are simply not true. In fact, many of the things that are explicitly taught in American schools today are not even directly related to the academic standards which students are charged to master by the end of their school year. The truth is that the home is where learning beings and learning begins from birth.

Since the moment that a child leaves his mother's womb he/she is learning constantly. They learn things like when they can get food, how to use a bottle, and how to get attention. Learning doesn't stop in infancy. As a child gets older before they turn school aged they are learning a wide variety of social skills and some academic knowledge. The problem is that the rules that aren't being taught explicitly by parents at home will be created by children. This answers many questions like why children cry to get what they want instead of asking. So, teachers have to step in. They have to step in and teach these things because most of the time the things that students are missing are skills that are going to help them learn academics. Teacher don't have much time either. Here are the things children should know before they enter school.

1. ABCs 
You may think that it is up to the teacher to teach things like the alphabet, but considering the large amount of literacy skills that a student learns even in Kindergarten students who do not know their ABCs before they enter school are already behind. Many students go into Kindergarten already knowing letter names and sounds, for those who don't behavior issues will ensue due to this gap and class growth will be diminished. Being able to recognize and say the name of 26 letters, without even knowing the sounds, is a very small task since learning to read is literally learning another language, but the benefit to students particularly those who will have trouble learning to read is great if they can go into Kindergarten already knowing the foundation of reading, the letters.

2. Count to 20 

Some children boast on how they can count to 100 or 1000 even by 1st grade. This is great, but children should have a clear understanding of 1-20 for many reasons. When you start using addition and subtraction the student will start computing with 1-20. The teens numbers-- 13 to 19-- are very confusing for learners. If they don't have a clear understanding of it they will undoubtedly confuse thirteen and thirty as they get into higher numbers. Being able to count high is great, but 1-20 is by far the most important initial skill.

3. Drawing 

Fine and gross motor skills are very important for children. Fine motor skill are important for school because children will be expected to write words and numbers. At the age children enter school their hands are not fully developed which is all the more reason to get them started early with manipulating writing utensils like markers, crayons, and pencils.

4. Identify everything in your house 

The number one problem with teaching children is not there ability to learn because all students regardless of socioeconomic status have the same ability to learn, it is their background knowledge. On average, affluent school children go into school with a vocabulary of up to approximately 2000 more words than their lower class counterparts. They perform higher simply because they know what things are. For every lesson a teacher gives, unknown vocabulary must be taught. This can be a daunting task for teachers who's students cannot identify something as trivial as the food items in their refrigerator. So it isn't unusual to expect your child to know that a picture sits in a frame on the counter in the family room.

5. Sitting silently 

Sitting silently is a behavior skill that children don't inherently have, so it is something that needs to be taught. Children are naturally energetic. A child needs to be able to know how to sit in one place for a relatively extended period of time without talking or moving around. There ability to do this will greatly enhance their learning and the learning of others around them because it limits distractions. For a parent, this means if you have company or you have business in one room and you can't supervise your child in another room for a short amount of time, have your child sit still while you finish up your conversation or cooking or work. At home is where they should learn this. Trust that very few things in life come naturally and the mindset of "They're just babies" turns into "They're just kids" which turns into "Boys will be boys" which turns into "They're just teen-agers" which unfortunately turns into "You need to straighten up" or "Where did I go wrong?".

6. Speaking in complete sentences

Speech is an integral part of the literacy process. Children do not learn to speak with all of the rules of grammar to create sentences of meaning. Every child is either taught how to speak or they create rules for themselves based on what they observe. They will accept these rules based on whether or not they are corrected. It's okay to speak to your family one way, but when you go to school you are communicating with adults and children who speak and are learning to understand common language respectively. This also is important for literacy because you write how you speak.


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