How do children become ready for school?
Children are learning from the moment they are born. Every early experience – from birth through age five – helps to build a foundation for school and life success. With the positive support of parents and caregivers, children gain the social and emotional skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for a strong start in school. The following resources are available to help:
Your local First Steps
Wherever you are in South Carolina, there's a First Steps nearby. Trained professionals are available to connect you with local resources and services that promote early learning, improve children’s health and wellness, increase access to quality child care and education, strengthen families and help prepare rising kindergartners for school entry. Contact your local First Steps to find out how we can help you and your family get connected to the resources you need.
Ages and stages - How your child moves, speaks, acts, plays and explores offer important clues about their development.
- Learn the Signs. Act Early. Use the CDC's developmental milestone app to track and celebrate your child's developmental milestones from 2 months to 5 years.
- How's My Child Doing? Find out with screening tools from Help Me Grow South Carolina.
- South Carolina's Profile of the Ready Kindergartner describes the physical, cognitive, social and emotional signs of school readiness.
Delays and disabilities - Act early if you have concerns about your child's development.
- BabyNet is South Carolina's early intervention system for infants and toddlers under three years of age with developmental disabilities.
- Family Connection South Carolina offers resources and support to families of children with disabilities and special healthcare needs.
Learning at home - A parent is a child's first and most important teacher.
- The Palmetto Basics are five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every family can give every child a great start in life.
- Vroom is a mobile app that provides easy access to daily brain-building activities.
- The Countdown to Kindergarten home visitation program has parent tips sheets available on the topics of: language, math, play, sleep, technology, writing and what to look for in a kindergarten classroom.
Health and wellness - Information and programs that promote children's health.
- Find your local public health clinic.
- SC Thrive provides access to free or low-cost healthcare coverage (Medicaid) and other quality of life resources.
- The WIC Nutrition Program offers health education, healthy foods, breastfeeding support and other free services for families.
- HealthyChildren.org is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) parenting website.
- InfantSEE provides free eye assessments for infants 6-12 months old.
- To report a potential case of abuse or neglect, immediately contact the county DSS office where the child resides.
- Infant sleep safety
- Car seat safety
- Lead poisoning prevention
- Childhood injury prevention
Child care and education
- Visit Free4KSC.org to search for free full-day four-year-old kindergarten programs in private, community- and faith-based centers across the state.
- Palmetto Pre-K is your one-stop shop for finding free pre-K programs in South Carolina.
- ABC Quality is the state's quality rating and improvement system for child care providers.
- SC Child Care Resource & Referral connects families with quality child care.
- SC Department of Social Services offers child support, kinship care, financial assistance programs and more.
- South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families