School Readiness: Birth to Age 3

What is School Readiness?

School readiness means that a child is ready to learn how to do things independently and enter a social and educational environment. A school ready child should be able to:

How Do I Make Sure My Child Is Ready for School?

1. Foster confidence and a sense of safety with daily routines so that your baby learns what to expect from his world. 

If a child feels safe and loved, he is more likely to feel confident about himself and to make friends with others.   Self-esteem and social awareness are just as important to school success as familiarity with letters and numbers.

2. Talk, sing, and play games with your child.

3. Use books with your baby. 

4. Bring your child to the library.

You do NOT need a college education, a background in child development, or a large home in order to give your baby the foundation needed to be smart and do well in school. Scientific studies have proven that there are things anyone can do to help their child be successful in school and in life.

What Can the Enoch Pratt Free Library Do to Help My Child Get Ready for School?

The Enoch Pratt Free Library offers programs that help children get ready for school by providing the following:

What Does Brain Research Say About Children’s Learning?

“The brain does a lot of growing after birth. Billions of brain cells are already formed at birth. These cells connect with each other during the first years of life. And what happens to a baby affects the kinds of connections her brain makes.”  (from Building Baby’s Brain: What Parents Can Do, 1999)

Resources for Further Information

Better Brains for Babies 
This website from the University of Georgia includes many fact sheets on subjects such as “The Role of Music” and “Learning Language.”  

Benevolent Society
Founded in 1813, the Benevolent Society is Australia's first charity. Their website offers much useful information for parents such as this fact sheet on the social and emotional aspects of school readiness.

The Center for Development & Learning 
The Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to increased school success for all children. Get answers to questions about your child’s health or hear real-life stories from other parents.

Posted by the Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health, this website provides access to reliable, up-to-date, health information about children from before birth through adolescence.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children
To learn more about giving children a good start, look at Early Years Are Learning Years™, an ongoing effort to focus attention on the importance of the early years for children's learning and all aspects of development.

Reading is Fundamental
The largest non-profit literacy organization in the United States, Reading is Fundamental motivates children from birth to age eight to read by providing free books and literacy resources. The parents’ website includes tips for inspiring children to read, featured books for children of all ages, and activities.

Reading Rockets
Reading Rockets makes the most up-to-date research on reading instruction available in accessible multimedia formats to those who need it such as parents, teachers, librarians, and other childcare providers.  Subscribe to Reading Rockets parenting tips delivered to your inbox.

The Urban Child Institute
The Urban Family Institute focuses on the health of the people of the Mid-South, especially children, through advocacy, research, and education. Their website is a resource for those interested in learning about brain development in early childhood as well as other important topics.   

University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension
Publications from the Cooperative Extension help parents understand their young children's needs and developmental processes. 

Zero To Three
Zero to Three is a nonprofit organization that informs, educates, and supports adults who influence the lives of babies and toddlers. Pages for parents include information on sleep, brain development, health & nutrition, and temperament & behavior.

Ask Us

If you have questions about school readiness, please e-mail us, call (410) 396-5402, or contact us by mail:

Children's Department
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201