Early Learning

School Readiness Definition

Published: 4/24/2023 10:26 AM
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Ready to Grow…Ready to Learn…Ready to Succeed​

The Governor's Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education recommends that in Kentucky:
School readiness means each child enters school ready to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences that best promote the child’s success.

Families, early care and education providers, school staff and community partners must work together to provide environments and developmental experiences that promote growth and learning to ensure that all children in Kentucky enter school eager and excited to learn.

In developing the above recommendation, the Task Force recognized the five developmental areas for school readiness are:
  • Approaches to learning;
  • Health and physical well-being;
  • Language and communication development;
  • Social and emotional development; and
  • Cognitive and general knowledge.

In addition to the definition of school readiness, the Task Force developed a series of indicators related to the above developmental areas. These readiness indicators provide an overview of the expectations of primary schools for incoming students and provide guidance to families and communities on how to prepare children for school.

Also, a readiness indicator provides teachers, child care providers and parents a tool to better inform them on the specific strengths and needs of each individual child. These indicators represent the hopes and aspirations for incoming students, not the expectations. Children develop at different rates, not every child will have mastered all of the skills and behaviors at the beginning of a primary program.

Health and Physical Well-Being
My child:
  • Eats a balanced diet
  • Gets plenty of rest
  • Receives regular medical and dental care
  • Has had all necessary immunizations
  • Can run, jump, climb, and does other activities that help develop large muscles and provide exercise
  • Uses pencils, crayons, scissors, and paints and does other activities that help develop small muscles

Emotional and Social Preparation
My child:
  • Follows simple rules and routines
  • Is able to express his or her own needs and wants
  • Is curious and motivated to learn
  • Is learning to explore and try new things
  • Has opportunities to be with other children and is learning to play/share with others
  • Is able to be away from parents/family without being upset
  • Is able to work well alone
  • Has the ability to focus and listen

Language, Math and General Knowledge
My child:
  • Uses 5-6 word sentences
  • Sings simple songs
  • Recognizes and says simple rhymes
  • Is learning to write her name and address
  • Is learning to count and plays counting games
  • Is learning to identify and name shapes and colors
  • Has opportunities to listen to and make music and to dance
  • Knows the difference between print and pictures
  • Listens to stories read to them
  • Has opportunities to notice similarities and differences
  • Is encouraged to ask questions
  • Has his television viewing monitored by an adult
  • Understands simple concepts of time (night and day, today, yesterday, tomorrow)
  • Is learning to sort and classify objects

*School readiness skills and behaviors are not to be used to determine school eligibility; all children who meet the legal age requirement are entitled to a public school education.
**School readiness skills and behaviors are aligned to Kentucky Early Childhood Standards and are designed to be used with the KIDS NOW Early Childhood Parent Guide and were adapted from the Final Report of the National Governors Association Task Force on School Readiness, the Northern Kentucky Council of Partners in Education Kindergarten Readiness pamphlet, the United States Department of Education School Readiness Checklist, the Maryland Model of School Readiness, and the School Readiness in North Carolina Report to the North Carolina State Board of Education.

Please email the School Readiness branch if you have any questions.

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