I am wanting to enroll my 4 year old into a preschool program, but am not sure where to look. I live in Davenport, and also a college student. Can anyone please give me information as to where to start, or give me some suggestions on what I can do to make sure she is ready to start kindergarten when she turns 5?

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Lucy Aitkenread, Mother / Activist / Writer

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In the latter half of your question you ask what you can do to ensure your child is ready for kindergarten. A recent report published by Cambridge University in the UK, Too Much Too Soon, advocates for the delaying of formal learning until the age of 7. The best thing you can do for your child before she gets to Kindergarten is to give her lots of space for free play and imagination play! Parents who try and teach their children reading and numbers as kindergarten preparation do so quite possibly to the detriment of their long-term learning. Bear this in mind while choosing a kindergarten too - chose the one that recognises the natural, child development based time frame for learning. If they prioritise play - go for that one! Ask the kindergarten if you can stay for a day and play before the formal term begins- kindergartens are increasingly getting used to this idea - it allows for a much more gentle transition. Good luck!

Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC, Certified Youth, Parent, Family Coach, Early Education & Parenting Consultant, Writer and Speaker

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The foundation for kindergarten readiness is all about independence and confidence. Children who feel secure enough in their setting to explore, question and experiment will learn how to be critical thinkers and confident decision makers. Children develop at different rates. One child might be ready to write before another but typically developing children will eventually get there. It is more important that young children know they can function based on their own decisions and abilities. They need to do for themselves as much as they are developmentally able. They need to pick their clothes, dress themselves, feed themselves and explore to discover the answers to questions. They need to figure out how to socialize with their peers while adults guide their interactions if they need help taking turns and sharing.
I have taught in and directed early childhood settings. I have seen children who enter at 2 years old and others not until 3 or 4 years old. The key to readiness is the love of learning that is developed by play, socialization and interaction, not the age they start and not when they were first able to read or write or do math.

Will Carington, works for Noodle

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To start getting an idea of what your preschool options are, the first thing I'd recommend doing is seeing what programs are provided by your local public school district. The Davenport Community Schools Preschool Program homepage provides a helpful overview of the different types of programs offered through the district:

To speak with a Davenport Community Schools administrator about preschool, call 563-336-5000.

Another program that you might want to investigate is Head Start, a national program which provides low-cost early childhood education services through local organizations. You can find programs near you using the Head Start Program Locator.

Setting up a preschool search on Noodle is also a great way to get an overview of the different programs, both private and public, available in your area. Noodle is also a great resource for information about preschool, kindergarten, and more. Some articles that might interest you are:

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

Celi Trépanier, Author, former public school teacher, homeschool mom and a passionate advocate for gifted children

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As with the other answers you have received, emotional and social readiness is important because it helps to insure that your child will enter Kindergarten eager and ready to learn. Also, it has been shown that expecting a four or five year old to have strong academic skills is "too much too soon."

If you are concerned about your child's academic skills and readiness for kindergarten, as a former public school teacher who has taught many kindergarteners, I can tell you this: the one, most important advantage you can give your young child is to read to her, and read often. Exposure to books, reading and print gets them ready to learn to read, and they learn so much from books. Make sure you choose books from many different genres--fiction as well as non-fiction. Fostering a love of reading is fundamental to your child's success in kindergarten and in school.

Lastly, along with books, try to expose your child to many different learning experiences such as nature hikes, museums, libraries, art projects and free play. Play games with your child, and include your child in everyday chores such as making a grocery list or paying bills--this is real-life learning that really can't be taught in school.

I hope your daughter enjoys Kindergarten!

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