10 School Readiness in the Home-Based Option

The goals for learning and development that the home visitor and the parents create for the child are building a foundation for success in school and in life. A secure, meaningful, ongoing relationship with an invested adult provides a healthy environment for the developing brain and exactly the kinds of experiences young brains need for learning. School readiness begins with health and includes early identification of hearing, vision, physical (gross and fine motor development), or other delays.

The foundations for school readiness begin in pregnancy and continue throughout early childhood. For infants and toddlers, school readiness refers to the developing capacity of children to self-regulate; develop close, secure personal relationships with adults and peers; demonstrate curiosity in, pay attention to, and explore people and objects in the environment; demonstrate a sense of self-confidence; and communicate effectively. This developing capacity depends on the child having good health and receiving proper nutrition, and it all happens within the context of close, nurturing, culturally responsive relationships with parents, caregivers, extended family, and community. (Adapted from School Readiness Goals for Infants and Toddlers in Head Start and Early Head Start Programs: Examples from the Early Head Start National Resource Center) You are in a unique position to promote school readiness because your primary goal is to support the development of a secure parent–child relationship. When parents provide a safe, responsive relationship, they support healthy brain development in the child. That relationship and that healthy brain are the foundation for all of the child’s learning. You are also the parents’ partner as they use everyday routines and household materials to make any moment a joyful learning experience. Parents can use the information they’ve discussed during the home visit throughout the week. The home becomes a rich learning environment.

Socializations provide important experiences for school readiness. Along with the many planned learning experiences, children have the opportunity to play together, cooperate, take turns, and have conversations with their peers.

With the use of your ongoing assessments and observations, your curriculum, and your knowledge of this particular child and family, you will help this family build the foundations of learning in the five essential domains: approaches toward learning, physical development and health, language and literacy, cognition and general knowledge, and social and emotional development.