You are your child’s first teacher.

As a parent, foster parent, grandparent, or any other caregiver to a child, you are that child’s first teacher. Ninety percent of all brain development happens by age 5. This is why engaging with babies, toddlers, and young children in meaningful ways is so critical.

Every moment matters leading up to the first day of kindergarten. Talking, reading, singing, and playing with your child builds brain power and makes a big difference in whether they will be ready to learn in school.

How else can you prepare them for kindergarten? Take advantage of free resources like the ones listed below. Try our activity suggestions. Sign up for storytime at your public library. And regularly watch your child’s progression through developmental milestones.

Even if you weren’t necessarily trained for this important job, you’ve got this!

Every Moment Counts

You have big plans for your child, but it’s the little moments that count. Here are some ideas to help your child succeed.

  • Take a “word walk” by naming everything you see. This helps with learning new words.
  • As they get dressed, talk about the steps. “First you put on your red shirt, next, you put on your blue pants.”
  • Ask your child to tell you a story about anything in their world. Ask questions like, “And then what happened?” to keep your child talking.
  • Read or tell stories. Point out pictures, shapes and colors in the book. Ask them what they think will happen next.
  • In the car, see if they can find a sign with the letter “s” in it. Point out different shapes and words.
  • Ask your child to retell their favorite story or a TV show they watch. Retelling a story will help them remember what they read later on.
  • Start a sing-along. Get creative by leaving out words and having them choose the animals or people to insert into songs like, “The Wheels on the Bus” or “Old MacDonald.”
  • In the bathtub, sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and have them splash to the rhythm of the song.
  • Sing a song from memory with your child. Singing will help your child learn and remember words.
  • Blow bubbles and see how many your child can count. Ask your child if the bubbles are big or small.
  • Play the game, “I Spy.” Have them pick an item that they can see and you guess what it is.
  • Pick a word and create as many rhymes as you can.

Together, we can create a community where all families have the opportunity to prepare their children for kindergarten, giving them a better chance at having a happy and successful life.

Why is kindergarten readiness so important?

Children who enter kindergarten with language and literacy skills below their classmates don’t often catch up academically. Research shows kindergarten readiness has a lifelong impact. Poor academic performance is linked with higher rates of high school dropouts, teen pregnancy, juvenile detention, unemployment, and adult incarceration. Let’s get 100% of Franklin County kids ready for kindergarten!

Know the facts.

6 out of 10 children

in Franklin County are not ready for school success.

1 in 10 children

in Franklin County do not graduate from highschool.

4 out of 10 people

in jail have less than a high school education.

Know the facts.

6 out of 10 children

in Franklin County are not ready for school success.

1 in 10 children

in Franklin County do not graduate from highschool.

4 out of 10 people

in jail have less than a high school education.

The Road to Reading.

Preschool-age Parents: We’re excited to introduce a new way to make car rides not only enjoyable but also enriching for your child through daily phonemic awareness activities. These activities are designed to boost your child’s language skills while having fun on the go! 

Listen to Future Ready Five’s weekly podcast with literacy activities for the car, bus, or however you get around.

Improve your child’s language and literacy skills with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio.

Dolly Parton may be famous for singing, but she is also a fierce advocate of childhood literacy. Ohio has partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program to mail children one free book each month until their fifth birthday. Children get to keep all the books so they can build their own personal library.

All children in Ohio are eligible for this no-cost program. Reading aloud to a child and giving them easy access to books is a great way to help prepare them for kindergarten.

Improve your child’s language and literacy skills with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio.

Dolly Parton may be famous for singing, but she is also a fierce advocate of childhood literacy. Ohio has partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program to mail children one free book each month until their fifth birthday. Children get to keep all the books so they can build their own personal library.

All children in Ohio are eligible for this no-cost program. Reading aloud to a child and giving them easy access to books is a great way to help prepare them for kindergarten.

Sign up for Bright by Text.

Kids don’t come with instruction manuals, but you can get the information you need most to make it easier to raise your little one. Future Ready Columbus has partnered with Bright by Text to bring you a free texting program that gives you quality content from trusted sources like PBS Kids.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor, or babysitter, you can get bite-sized tips and learning activities based on your child’s age sent right to your cell phone.
Bright By Text’s mission is to help all families give kids a bright beginning so they can grow into healthy, happy, and successful adults.

Don’t miss this incredible learning opportunity that will help your child reach new heights! Simply text “futureready” to 274448 or click the button below to sign up for free.

The signs of kindergarten readiness.

How can you tell if your child is ready for kindergarten? Download this simple list that shows the different kinds of skills they are expected to have when they start kindergarten.

The signs of kindergarten readiness.

How can you tell if your child is ready for kindergarten? Download this simple list that shows the different kinds of skills they are expected to have when they start kindergarten.

Birth to 2-months      4-months      6-months      9-months      12-months      18-months      2-years      3-years     4-years      5-years

For a complete listing of developmental milestones by age, including movement/physical development milestones and parenting tips and activities, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by clicking here.

Watch your child’s language/communication developmental milestones.

Developmental milestones are skills that most children achieve by a certain age. While children develop at their own pace, monitoring their skills regularly can provide valuable information about their developmental health. You will want to share your child’s progress and any concerns with their pediatrician at every well-child visit.

Birth to 2 months

  • Coos, makes gurgling sounds
  • Turns head toward sounds

TIP: Respond to your baby’s first smiles, gurgles, and coos. They are talking to you and want you to talk, too!

4 months

  • Begins to babble
  • Babbles with expression and copies sounds they hear

TIP: Hold and talk to your baby. Smile and be cheerful while doing so.

6 months

  • Responds to sounds by making sounds
  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with the “m” and “b”)

TIP: Read books to your baby every day. Praise them when they babble and “read,” too.

9 months

  • Understands “no”
  • Makes a lot of different sounds like
    mamamama” and “babababa”

12 months

  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Tries to say words you say

18 months

  • Says several single words
  • Points to show someone what they want

TIP: When you read with your child, have them turn the pages. Take turns labeling pictures with your child.

2 years

  • Points to things or pictures when names
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
  • Follows simple instructions

TIP: Describe what your child is looking at. For example, a “red, round ball.”

3 years

  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
  • Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences

TIP: Play counting games and matching games. Teach your child simple songs and rhymes.

4 years

  • Tells stories
  • Can say their first and last name
  • Knows some basic rules of grammar such as correctly using “he” or “she”

TIP: Explore things your child likes. For example, if they love animals, get them library books about animals and visit the zoo. Search for animals like squirrels on walks.

5 years

  • Speaks very clearly
  • Says name and address
  • Uses future tense; for example, “Grandma will be here.”