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 educationally based environment. To do this, a child should have the ability 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 be feel confident about himself and to make friends with others.   Self-esteem and emotional awareness are just as important  to school success as familiarity with letters and numbers[PDF]

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

6. Use books with your baby. 

7. 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.  For example, Mother Goose on the Loose and Terrific Twos programs offer 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 [PDF])

Resources for Further Information

Better Brains for Babies 
From the University of Georgia.  Includes many fact sheets to print out on subjects such as “The Role of Music” and “Learning Language.”

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

Run by the Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health.  Access to reliable, up-to-date, health information about children from before birth through adolescence.

Mother Goose Programs
Provides adults with simple activities that can help children explore math, science, art, and books.

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.

On the Go 
Offers free reproducible language and early literacy activities in English or Spanish for parents and young children to be used outside the home:  in the car, while walking, during bus rides, etc. 

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

Zero To Three
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 and nutrition, and temperament and behavior.

Ask Us

If you have any 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