School Readiness

Infant and Toddler Caregivers

For infants and toddlers, school readiness refers to their developing capacity to self-regulate, demonstrate curiosity, communicate effectively, and develop close, secure relationships. Good health and proper nutrition support this developing capacity. This happens within the context of nurturing, culturally responsive relationships with parents, caregivers, extended family, and community.

The resources on this page supports caregivers work laying the foundations of school readiness for infants and toddlers.

Steps for School Readiness

  1. Establish Goals for Improving School Readiness Across Domains
    • Set age-appropriate goals for infants and toddlers that address each of the five essential domains:
      • Approaches to Learning
      • Cognition and General Knowledge
      • Language and Literacy
      • Physical Development and Health
      • Social and Emotional Development
    • Goals should reflect those outlined in Program Level School Readiness Goals for Early Childhood Programs: Examples from the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL):
      • Rapid growth and development of infants and toddlers
      • The significance of learning within trusting relationships
      • The importance of continuity of care
    • Ensure goals are appropriate for infant and toddlers
    • Provide the foundation for future learning through alignment with the state's early learning guidelines, as appropriate, and requirements and expectations of schools children will be attending
    • Engage parents and community partners providing birth-to-three services in the goal setting process
  2. Create and Implement an Action Plan for Achieving Established School Readiness Goals

    • Use curriculum, program strategies, and care practices that:
      • Reflect the varying developmental needs of infants and toddlers
      • Support children's progress toward goals
      • Foster family engagement, healthy parent-child relationships, and parents' efforts to support their child's ongoing growth and learning

    Find more information in Child Observation: The Heart of Individualizing Responsive Care for Infants and Toddlers

  3. Assess Child Progress on an Ongoing Basis and Aggregate and Analyze Data Throughout the Year
  4. Examine Data for Patterns of Progress for Groups of Children to Revise, Develop, and Implement Plans for Program Improvement

Additional Resources