How to help kids in your care prepare for their first tests

By Lucy Wyndham

4th October 2018
Preparing children for tests

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As a child care provider or teacher, you receive the trust of parents and children alike. Parents trust you with the safety and mental development of their children. Children place emotional and social importance on their relationship with you. That means you are uniquely positioned to help push children toward academic success.

In our modern world, test-taking is a critical skill. Children often don’t understand the importance of tests when they are relatively young. It is your job to help prepare those children for taking tests that will set them on the path for success in their future. A proactive approach will help not only the children in your care, but also your professional reputation as an early childhood care provider or educator.

Focus On Basic Study Techniques

Studying is a confusing concept for small children. Even older children and teenagers struggle with it. The best way to approach it is to start early. Make sure that the kids in your care see studying as fun and engaging, not just a chore.

Encouraging children to read and review information every day can help improve their Mastery of study techniques and information retention. Set aside some time each day to practice good study habits. Focus on rewarding positive behaviours instead of punishing inappropriate ones. That reinforcement will help children develop and maintain great study habits for life.

Prepare Kids for Specific Tests

Teaching to the test may seem counter-intuitive, but it can be important. Even children who understand the source material can struggle with some tests. Understanding the format of the test is important.

Practice tests or quizzes can help prepare children for different test types. At a young age, they will likely need to either fill in answers or make multiple choice selections in areas like English, verbal skills, non-verbal reasoning, and maths. Essay components typically won’t factor in at this age. Doing small tests and quizzes to build up their test-taking skills can help the children in your care prepare for their earliest exams.

Ensure All-Around Health For Better Performance

Information retention, test-taking knowledge, and studying skills are only part of academic achievement. Children also need to be healthy physically and mentally to thrive. Teach children and their parents about the importance of healthy daily routines.

Getting adequate sleep before a test is critical. Tired children simply won’t perform as well. Scheduling tests for later in the day is optimal if possible. Also, nutrition is very important. Children with an empty stomach or a belly full of sugar won’t perform as well as those with healthy foods in their system.

While you can’t ensure that each child will do great on every test, you can set the foundation for test-taking success. Helping children understand how to take and prepare for tests is an important task for early childhood teachers and childcare providers. The better the children in your care do on their tests, the more in demand your services may become over time.

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