With activities for children from infancy through age 5
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The first five years of a child's life are a time of tremendous physical, emotional, social and cognitive growth. Children enter the world with many needs in order to grow: love, nutrition, health, social and emotional security and stimulation in the important skills that prepare them for school success. Children also enter the world with a great capacity to learn.
Research shows clearly that children are more likely to succeed in learning when their families actively support them. Families who involve their children in activities that allow the children to talk, explore, experiment and wonder show that learning is both enjoyable and important. They motivate their children to take pleasure in learning and to want to learn more. They prepare them to be successful in school-and in life. There is a strong connection between the development a child undergoes early in life and the level of success that the child will experience later in life. When young children are provided an environment rich in language and literacy interactions and full of opportunities to listen to and use language constantly, they can begin to acquire the essential building blocks for learning how to read. A child who enters school without these skills runs a significant risk of starting behind and staying behind.
President Bush believes that all children must begin school with an equal chance at achievement so that no child is left behind. To that end, he signed the No Child Left Behind Act, which proposed reforms expressing his confidence in our public schools and their mission to build the mind and character of every child, from every background, in every part of America. While the No Child Left Behind Act is important because it ensures that public schools are teaching students what they need to know to be successful in life, it also draws attention to the need to prepare children before they start school. You and your family help to create this critical foundation by talking, listening and reading to your child every day and by showing your child that you value learning and education.
This booklet includes activities for families with children from infancy through age 5. Most of the activities make learning experiences out of the everyday routines in which you and your child already participate. Most use materials that are found in your home or that can be had free of charge from your local library. The activities are designed to be fun for both you and your child as well as to help your child gain the skills needed to get ready for school. Enjoy them!