Head Start School Readiness Goals

Gross Motor Skills

Goal 1: Children will demonstrate gross-motor manipulative skills such as manipulating balls or similar objects while demonstrating control of large muscle movement, navigation and balance to perform tasks.

Goal 2: Children will demonstrate habits which promote healthy development and well-being through physical activity.


  • Provide sufficient equipment for each child to participate. Include a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and weights to encourage experimentation and active participation
  • Ensure children’s safety by helping them adjust their position in space in relation to other children and objects. Teach the safe use of equipment.
  • Make modifications for children with disabilities or who have less developed manipulative skills


Fine Motor Skills

Goal 1: Children will hold drawing and writing tools by using a three-point finger grip, but may hold the instrument close to one end.

Goal 2: Children will use eye-hand coordination to demonstrate control and strength of small muscles (utensils, building, and writing).


  • Provide a wide variety of fine-motor activities that interest and appeal to all children in the classroom. Include items that are easy to manipulate by hand and add more challenging activities as quickly as possible without causing frustration.
  • Provide activities to strengthen the hand grasp and release; e.g., using squirt bottles, medicine droppers, punching holes, using clothespins, and handling play dough.
  • Allow plenty of time for children to explore materials and complete tasks.

Health Status & Practices

Goal 1: Children will perform self-care tasks independently (zipping, dressing self-etc.).

Goal 2: Children will follow basic health and safety rules and begin to make healthy food choices.

Goal 3: Children will do independent toileting skills (including wiping, flushing and washing hands).


  • Ask families about self-care activities in which child participates at home.
  • Describe what you are doing during caregiving routines, so children can learn the sequence of actions to care for themselves.
  • Serve food that children can feed to themselves. Be prepared for messes.
  • Provide child-size materials such as sponges, mops, brooms, and dust pans so children can assist with meaningful classroom cleaning.
  • Include clothing of various sizes so children can practice dressing themselves. Slightly larger clothes and those with large fasteners are easier for children to manipulate.

Self-Control & Social Relationships

Goal 1: Children will regulate own emotions and will be able to calm self with adult support moving towards increased independence to regulate own emotions and behaviors

Goal 2: Children will engage in positive adult-child relationships and interactions, accepting redirection from a familiar adult and will seek familiar adult when needing comfort.

Goal 3: Children will follow developmentally appropriate school routines throughout the school day.

Goal 4: Children will interact with peers by initiating, joining in and sustaining positive interactions with a small group of 2-3 children, including shared space and materials.


  • Establish and practice consistent routine
  • Use clear, simple language to communicate which behaviors are acceptable, e.g., say, “Pat Tamika’s arm gently.”
  • Create clear boundaries to help children learn to control themselves. Use visual aid, such as carpet squares or floor tape, to mark boundaries with preschool children.
  • Set clear, reasonable, age-appropriate expectations that children can understand. When children do not behave in acceptable ways, assess whether the adult expectation is appropriate given the situation. Respond consistently structuring consequences that are related to the behavior, e.g., have the children help clean up the dumped paint instead of using time-out.
  • Build positive relationships with each child by making purposeful observations every day, talking to each child respectfully, being sensitive to the child’s feelings, and validating accomplishments and progress.
  • Observe children as they try to enter group activities both indoors and outdoors. Help children who need assistance find play partners. Teach them positive strategies for entering and participating in group activities.

Knowledge of Families & Communities

Goal 1: Children will display a sense of self, showing self-confidence in their abilities.

Goal 2:  Children will gain a strong identity that is rooted in their family and culture.


  • Display family pictures in the classroom to validate children’s most important relationships.
  • Taking field trips, inviting families to daily events and involving communities in special events.
  • Display modern and positive Anishinaabe, children and families (dancing participating in sugar bush etc.).

Initiative & Curiosity

Goal 1: Children will demonstrate an interest in varied topics and activities.

Goal 2:  Children will demonstrate persistence, creativity and independence in their activities and materials and seek help when encountering a problem.

Goal 3: Children will use words and concepts to describe the materials or action with peers and adults.

Goal 4: Children will demonstrate an interest in technology, how it affects their lives, culture and learning about the world.


  • Provide many opportunities for children to make choices from interesting materials that are familiar and challenging, and encourage children to use them in many ways.
  • Provide opportunities for children to observe others solving problems and to work with other children and adults to solve problems together.
  • Respond to children’s explorations and discoveries with enthusiasm and encouragement rather than by providing rewards like stickers or prizes.
  • Support children’s spontaneous interests, e.g., their examinations of the locust shells found in the play yard, in addition to offering teacher-directed activities based on the children’s interests.
  • Ask children open-ended questions such as, “What do you think would happen if you….? What else could you do with….? Can you think of another way to…?”
  • Emphasize the process children use to come up with possible approaches to tasks instead of focusing on finished products and answers.

Reasoning & Problem Solving

Goal 1: Children will recognize and recall experiences in order they took place, providing details about the experience.

Goal 2: Children will use classification skills to group objects by one characteristic then regroup them using a different characteristic and indicate reason.

Goal 3:  Children will show some self-direction and ownership of the learning choices they make.


  • Encourage children to solve problems for themselves when appropriate. Be available to offer support, encouragement, and new ideas.
  • Guide children to make analogies. Help them to see ways in which things they learned about earlier are similar to other things. For example, after studying turtles, they may notice that crabs, crawfish, and lobsters also have shells that protect them.
  • Play sorting and matching games, using materials that are familiar to the child. Think about the child’s family background, neighborhood, and community as you choose familiar materials, e.g., toys, clothing, utensils, and food labels.

Goal 1: Children will listen understand and demonstrate increasingly complex language and ask for assistance when encountering difficulties.

Goal 2: Children will follow detailed 1 to 2 step directions.

Goal 3: Children will engage in story time activities for 5-10 minutes.

Goal 4: Children will be exposed to and demonstrate an understanding of Ojibwe throughout the day.


  • Use precise language because young children are very literal thinkers.
  • Positively acknowledge when the child follows directions.
  • Give students opportunities each day to ear fluent reading (read aloud) from you, in a listening center, or via a Web-based source
  • Have one-on-one conversations with children who are reluctant to speak in a group. Support them in contributing to small-group discussions.
  • Include materials to encourage verbal children to tell stories, e.g., wordless pictures, miniature items from a story, and picture story starters.
  • Repeat and reinforce new words. Talk about the meanings of new words by providing familiar words with similar meanings. Use new words in different contexts throughout the day.
  • Incorporate Ojibwe sentences throughout the day.

Book Appreciation

Goal 1: Children will use and appreciate books, use emergent reading skills by pretending to read, and know some features of a book (title, author, and illustrator)

Goal 2: Children will learn about cultures through a variety of media and experiences.


  • Provide high-quality children’s literature from a variety of genres. Include picture books, poetry, and informational books. Call attention to how ideas are presented in different ways in different types of books.
  • Prepare children for reading by taking a picture walk. Introduce the story by previewing the pictures. Ask children to predict what the story is about by looking at the cover. Turn the pages slowly as you walk through the book so children can make predictions about the story.
  • Provide repeated readings of the same book so children can focus on different aspects of the book each time e.g., story line, details, specific vocabulary words.

Phonological Awareness

Goal 1: Children will begin to demonstrate knowledge of letter sounds.

Goal 2:  Children will demonstrate an understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes) (i.e.  They will recognize and produce rhyming words, become increasingly aware of alliteration eventually producing it, count syllables in words, and engage in word play that highlights specific phonemes).


  • Know each child’s level of phonological awareness and provide appropriate experiences. Plan specific activities to help children attend to rhyme, alliteration, and smaller units of sound.
  • Use songs, stories, and rhymes that play with language. Informally, but intentionally, draw children’s attention to the sound of language.
  • Encourage children to play with words and make up their own rhymes.

Alphabet Knowledge

Goal 1: Children will begin to identify letters in the alphabet, especially those in their own name.

Goal 2: Children will be exposed to print in multiple ways and understand how print works (left to right).


  • Create a print-rich environment. Include print that is meaningful, functional, and interesting. Avoid displaying so much print that it clutters the room.
  • Talk with the children about the many ways print is used around them. For example, look on the internet to check the day’s weather. Read them the lunch menu. Read aloud a card to be sent to a sick classmate.

Print Concepts, Conventions, and Early Writing

Goal 1: Children will use print concepts such as showing awareness of various features of print letters, words, spaces, upper and lowercase letters.

Goal 2: Children will connect an increasing number of Ojibwe words with pictures.

Goal 3: Children will represent ideas and stories through pictures, dictation and play.


  • Support children’s play with print as they imitate real life situations. For example, offer books, newspapers, or magazines to the doctor’s office. Supply paper and markers for making signs, writing checks, or creating appointment books.
  • Provide ample time, materials, and space for children to write throughout the day. Offer unlined and lined paper of different sizes, shapes, pencils of various sizes, crayons, markers, and white boards, magic slate, and other writing supplies.
  • Include activities that give children reasons to write their names. For example, they may write their names on drawings, letters, greeting cards, sign-up sheets for a popular activity, or attendance sheets upon arrival each day.
  • Label classrooms in Ojibwe and English
  • Provide books and pictures featuring Ojibwe words and sentences.

Goal 1: Children will be exposed to Ojibwe vocabulary throughout each knowledge area.

Number Concepts & Quantities

Goal 1: Children will begin to show an understanding of number and quantity (counting etc.).

Goal 2: Children will use mathematical concepts in everyday tasks and routines.

Goal 3: Children will begin to identify numerals by name and connect each to counted objects in both Ojibwe and English.


  • Observe children to determine their counting skills. For those just beginning to count, display a few identical items in a straight line. As children gain skills, change the arrangement of objects. Gradually add more and carried objects to count.
  • Practice counting in ways that involve multiple learning styles and representations. Involve the senses as children touch, hear the spoken number, see the numeral, or physically move their bodies.
  • Include materials and activities that associate numerals with sets.
  • Practice counting objects in Ojibwe.

Number Relationships & Operations

Goal 1: Children will quantify by making sets of objects, identifying which part has more, less, or the same (equal) and counting all to find out how many.


  • Provide a variety of materials to help children develop an understanding of quantity. Offer buttons, bottle caps, keys, sticks, beans, cubes, counting bears, and other materials for children to count and compare. Model comparison vocabulary. Use words like more, most, less, fewer, least, same as, or equal.
  • Use every day activities as opportunities to count. Talk aloud as you count to solve problems. For example, you might say, “I wonder how many glue sticks we need to put out so everyone at the table has one. Let’s count to find out.”
  • Include key Ojibwe vocabulary, i.e. bangii (a few or a little bit), niibowa (many or a lot). Etc.

Geometry, Spatial Sense & Patterns

Goal 1: Children will begin to recognize and describe the attributes of shapes.

Goal 2: Children will recognize simple patterns and duplicate them.


  • Label shapes with the correct names as the children use them. For example, when a child says, “I got a round one,” when describing a sphere, you might say, “Yes, it is round. It looks like a ball. It’s called a sphere.”
  • Model and encourage the use of positional words as children climb in, out, on, or through objects. For example you might say, “Lars crawled over the box and under the rope. Now he is in the tunnel.”
  • Call attention to patterns in the environment. For example, you might say, “Magnus, you have a pattern in your shirt: blue stripe, red stripe; blue stripe, red stripe; blue stripe, red stripe…” or “Sai, you made a pattern with your blocks: up, down; up, down; up, down…”

Measurement & Comparisons

Goal 1: Children will appropriately order and compare a small set of objects according to size, length, and weight.


  • Take advantage of daily opportunities to talk about comparing and measuring. Extend children’s visual comparisons of length, height, weight, and area. For example, when children debate about who has the biggest leaf, encourage them to compare by laying them side by side or placing one on top of the other.
  • Provide many opportunities for children to measure using non-standard measures. For example, offer plastic snap cubes, plastic chains, paper clips, blocks, paper strips, straws, plastic cups, or large spoons. Encourage children to think of other materials they can use to measure.
  • Offer a variety of standard measuring tools for children to investigate and use. Include rulers, yardsticks, measuring tapes, thermometers, balance scales, measuring cups, and centimeter grid paper.

Scientific Skills & Methods

Goal 1: Children will use simple tools and equipment for investigation.


  • Offer a variety of tools and other technology for children to use during explorations. For example, you might offer, ramps, pulleys, water wheels, egg beaters, and magnets for children to explore their physical world. Include magnifying glasses, tape recorders, and a digital camera as children study living things. Offer sifters, balance scales, plastic thermometers, or rain gauges as they explore the Earth’s environment.
  • Encourage children to try different tools to accomplish a task. Have them evaluate and compare the results.
  • Model technology applications in daily activities. For example, check the weather forecast for the day or look up information about ants on the internet.

Conceptual Knowledge of the Natural World

Goal 1: Children will use senses to explore materials and the environment around them while observing and describing the characteristics of living things and natural objects.

Goal 2: Children will develop an understanding of traditional Ojibwe relationships with the land and living creatures.

Goal 3: Children will develop an understanding of traditional Ojibwe relationships with the land and living creatures.


  • Include opportunities for children to care for living things. For example, they might care for a pet fish or grow a small garden in the play yard. Discuss what living things need to grow and stay healthy.
  • Help children understand animal behavior. After observing and talking about specific behaviors, encourage children to act like their favorite animals. For example, they might dramatize how cats stalk, preen themselves, or play.
  • Plan experiences where children can observe changes in the physical properties of objects and materials. For example, leave an ice cube outside in the sun and observe as it becomes a liquid. Mix different materials in water to see if they dissolve.
  • Make charts and/or graphs about the physical properties of objects and materials. For example, children might explore concepts such as absorb/repel, sink/float, hot/cold, or rough/smooth.
  • Encourage students to hypothesize and test predictions during experiments. For example, a student learning about heating and cooling can observe and document changes to matter as a result of temperature change.

Provide opportunities for cultural knowledge through gathering traditional foods, storytelling, hibernation, asemaa and seasonal interests. Inviting community members to share their knowledge.


Goal 1: Children will engage in music and dance with special emphasis on Ojibwe music and dance.

Goal 2: Children will use voice and instruments to create sound.


  • Include music and movement experiences and activities throughout the day. Use musical activities as you transition children from one activity to another. Include songs or movement activities as part of most large-group activities. Sing or use musical instruments during outdoor activities.
  • Encourage children to make up new lyrics and actions to familiar tunes or to create their own songs.
  • Personalize songs. For example, sing the child’s name or the name of a favorite food.
  • Create songbooks or song charts with pictures to illustrate songs children frequently ask for.
  • Play a variety of music. Offer different genres, such as jazz, country, classical, or rock and roll. Include music that inspires children to move quickly (polka) or slowly (lullaby). Discuss differences and how each type of music makes them feel. Incorporating songs with lyrics in Ojibwemowin.
  • Invite local musicians and/or dancers into the classrooms.


Goal 1: Children will use different materials and techniques to create artistic work that reflects their thoughts, feelings, experiences and culture.


  • Offer diverse, open-ended materials for children to explore. Include materials with different patterns, textures, and colors.
  • Encourage children to explore various art media to express their ideas. For example, they may represent the ideas expressed in a drawing by using blocks or collage materials.
  • Display children’s art creations attractively and prominently in the room, as much as possible at children’s eye level. Show collaborative as well as individual work. Remove displays before the room becomes cluttered or when children lose interest.
  • Give students the opportunity to revisit projects when they have ideas and/or refined skills.
  • Invite local artists, beaders, sewers basket makers etc. into the classrooms to demonstrate and share.


Goal 1: Children will portray events, characters or stories through acting and using props.


  • Extend the play of children by encouraging additional scenarios. Provide a variety of props for the exploration of different roles.
  • Extend children’s play by helping them see a range of actions, solutions, and possibilities. Provide opportunities to act out different characters and feelings. For example, have children make angry, fierce, sad, joyful, kind and brooding faces.
  • Invite children to dramatize stories you read. Read the story, calling attention to the setting, mood, characters, and plot. Provide puppets or other props for children to use to enact the story. Read the story a second time, pausing so children can act out the various parts.

Self, Family & Community

Goal 1: Children will have basic knowledge of self, their family, their culture and the differences between families and how they live.


  • Children will learn cultural activities through field trips and other cultural learning experiences.
  • Children will attend the Head Start pow-wow and be encouraged to participate.
  • Display family pictures in the classroom to validate the children’s most important relationships.
  • Incorporate other cultural learning experiences such as smudging, drum and dance; etc.

People & the Environment

Goal 1: Children will gain an understanding of the relationship between people and the environment in which they live and demonstrate simple geographic knowledge.

Goal 2: Children will be exposed to cultural pictures and posters that identify and respect cultural and family diversity.

Goal 3: Children will describe the location of things next or near to their environment.


  • Children will be exposed to cultural pictures and posters that identify and respect cultural and family diversity.
  • Children will gain experiences through field trips and conversations.
  • Discuss how our decisions impact the world around us, littering, recycling, earth day etc.