Preparing Your Kids for Formal Education: Tips and Strategies

mother teaching daughter

• Reading readiness is an important skill to develop before entering formal education. 

• Teaching your kids math and social skills will help them get off to a good start in school. 

• You can find classes and programs in your community to help your children prepare for formal education. 

• When prepping your child, consider their age and introduce more advanced topics if they’re ready. 

As parents, you want only the best for your children, including a good education. When you know your kids are ready to take on formal education, should you be preparing them beforehand? Absolutely! Read on to learn some tips and strategies that you can use to get your kids ready for school.

Important Skills to Develop

There are some skills that your kids should have before starting school that will help them get off to a good start. Whether you’re prepping your preschooler for kindergarten or helping your older child adjust to middle school, these skills are important:

Reading Readiness

Reading is one of the most important skills kids need to learn before entering school. This doesn’t mean your child needs to be able to read fluently before starting kindergarten, but having a basic understanding of letters and sounds will help make the transition smoother.

You can start preparing your child by reading books together and pointing out the different letters in words. You can also have them practice tracing letters or playing games like “Go Fish,” where they have to match up cards with pictures.

Math Skills

In addition to reading readiness, basic math knowledge is another essential skill for kids entering formal education. Helping your child understand numbers and simple arithmetic will give them a head start in math class. One way you can do this is by counting games like “I Spy” or having your child help you count items in the kitchen while cooking. You can also practice basic addition and subtraction problems using flashcards or games like Connect Four or Yahtzee.

Social Skills

It might not seem obvious, but teaching your children social skills is important in preparing them for formal education. The ability to interact with peers and adults is essential in school settings, so your child must learn how to communicate effectively before starting school. This could be anything from practicing conversation skills at home, enrolling them in group activities such as sports teams or music classes, or teaching them basic manners like saying please and thank you.

A group of kids forming a circle in a field

Finding Help in Your Community

If you’re at a loss for how to prepare your kids for formal education, don’t worry. There is help out there. Many communities offer classes and workshops designed to give children the skills they need to succeed in school. Here are some of your options:

Local Libraries

Your local library often hosts classes for children and parents to help prepare for school. These could include anything from reading programs to computer classes; many are free or low-cost. They also offer storytime and activities for younger children.

Community Centers

Many community centers host programs dedicated to helping kids transition into formal education. These could include playgroups, computer classes, or even tutoring services. If your kid has been curious about a certain topic like sports or music, there are often courses available to help them explore their interests.


Pre-kindergarten education is a great option for kids who want to get ahead before starting school. Pre-K programs are typically offered through schools or community centers designed to teach children the basics of reading, writing, and math in preparation for kindergarten.

Museums and Science Centers

Many museums and science centers have classes designed for kids entering formal education. You can find a variety of activities ranging from hands-on science experiments to art projects, all of which can help your child develop important skills for school.

A mother and daughter inside a museum

When to Start Preparing

So when should you start prepping your kids for school? It depends on their age. If they’re still in preschool, it’s best to focus on basic literacy and math skills. For older children ages 6 to 10, you can introduce more academic concepts like grammar, science, and history. You can also encourage them to participate in activities that foster creative thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.

If your children are younger than ten but exhibit advanced skills, you can start introducing more advanced topics. It’s important to remember that the goal is not to pressure them into learning faster than they are ready but to give them a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to prepare them for school success.

Preparing your kids for formal education is important in setting them up for success. With the right tools and resources, you can help make their transition into school a smooth one. Try incorporating some of these tips and strategies into your prepping routines to ensure your kids are ready to take on their new classroom adventures.

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