The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a new report yesterday which highlights the role pediatricians play in supporting healthy development of young children so they are ready to learn when they begin school.
The technical report stems from AAP’s 2016 policy statement, “The Pediatrician’s Role in Optimizing School Readiness” and outlines research showing how pediatricians can work with families to prepare children for kindergarten and beyond. Specifically the report highlights how pediatricians can work with families to promote school readiness by helping families incorporate daily activities to strengthen language, cognitive skills and parent child-bonds.
According to APP, “pediatricians can help [families] establish the kinds of nurturing environments that promote school readiness,” said P. Gail Williams, MD, FAAP, a lead author of the technical report and an executive committee member of the AAP’s Council on Early Childhood. “It’s not just about pre-academic skills,” Dr. Williams said. “It’s a combination of physical well-being, social emotional abilities, being able to self-regulate, as well as language skills and cognitive skills. And that starts right from birth.”
Overwhelming research shows that the earliest years of a child’s life – birth through age five – are critical for their physical, social, language, and cognitive development, all of which are essential to future success. Given pediatricians’ longstanding relationships with children and families that are established early and grow over time, pediatricians are an integral link between children and their families to school and community programs that promote school readiness.