Living Sustainably: Early learning skills crucial to youngsters, community

"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.” — Lao Tzu

Watch a group of very young children engaged in studying insects. What are they learning?

Fundamental concepts about the natural and social world, and discovering those answers by observing habitats, journaling, and researching alongside their peers. They’re practicing social skills while laying the groundwork for deeper learning, critical thinking skills, and problem solving.

To sustain growth of a vibrant economic future, seeds of community and a love of learning must be planted early. Ready for School’s Start School Ready is a perfect example.

Last summer, I watched my own son, Will, thrive during Start School Ready, a program designed to ease soon-to-be kindergartners and their families into the transition to school.

Success lies in creating an environment that supports early learning by building relationships: Relationship to routine, to academics, and to people (teachers, fellow students and staff).

In the Bumblebee room, his teachers combined the routines of a typical school day with outdoor exploration to build math, literacy and social-emotional skills, translating experiences into increased school readiness. Insects like pill bugs made learning real in the summer and relevant into kindergarten.

A week into kindergarten, Will declared his desire to “pass” on school. Even with the positive experience of Start School Ready, he was struggling.

“Will, keep trying and trust me on this, it will get better,” I said.

With mom credibility on the line, it had to get better.