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PBS Survey Shows Parents Concerned Kids Aren’t Ready For School

Nearly half of parents are worried their children might not be ready for school. That's according to a national PBS survey of American families with children aged 2 to 6. Forty-six percent of respondents said they were concerned their child may lack the necessary skills to start elementary school.

Aired 3/6/14 on KPBS News.

If you're a parent with a young child you may be worried that he or she lacks the necessary skills to start elementary school. According to a new survey, you're not alone.

Credit: PBS

A portrait of Lesli Rotenberg, general manager of PBS children's programming.

KPBS Morning Edition's Deb Welsh discussed the survey with Lesli Rotenberg, general manager of PBS children's programming.

Welsh: Did the survey results come as a surprise?

Rotenberg: We were really surprised. There were so many parents, five out of 10, who said they were worried their child wouldn't have the skills they needed to successfully transition to school and that's much higher than we imagined.

Welsh: What were some of their primary concerns?

Rotenberg: They were particularly concerned about their social and emotional preparedness. More so than basic reading and basic math, which also showed up on their list of concerns, but behind social and emotional skills.

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PBS National Survey Results

PBS National Survey Results

A press release details the results of a ...

Welsh:The survey indicates that parents, an overwhelming majority, believe that TV not only helps with their kid's educational development, but with their growth socially and emotionally. I guess it's not the big wasteland it was once considered, is it?

Rotenberg: That's right and I think that's good news, considering how much time children actually spend with television. TV shows are the number one resource that parents use to develop children's emotional and social skills. What you choose to watch with your kids really does matter. But 89-percent of parents said they understand the educational benefits of exposing children to media and technology with TV ranking first and then things like computer games, activities, websites and apps.

Welsh:You have some tips for supporting children's school readiness. At number one is to "be involved." How important is that?

Rotenberg: It's so important. Anytime that a parent spends with a child, whatever that child is doing, they're going to learn more just because the parent is there by their side.

More tips:

  • Talk with your child. Young learners need to be in language rich environments. Discussion is one way to help your child build language and acquire the skills needed to learn how to read.
  • Help your child explore. Encourage questions. And when choosing media, follow your child's interests and look for educational content that builds on their excitement.
  • Encourage experimentation. Not only do kids get a sense of satisfaction when they try and finish new things, they also build confidence.
  • Nurture your child's natural curiosity. Encourage them to investigate everyday objects as a way to develop curiosity and an interest in learning more.

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