Background Knowledge

Background knowledge is what a child knows about a subject before they learn about it formally.

So how can we prepare children for the road ahead when we don't know what they'll need?

Try out these tips to increase your child's background knowledge:

Talk about it! Use your own knowledge to increase background knowledge. Does the smell of salt water remind you of family vacations to the beach? Share your memories. Is your child worried about an upcoming doctor's visit? Explain what a doctor's office is like and what will happen while they're there.

Photos! Describing the ocean is great, but showing the ocean in a picture or video provides an even more immersive experience.

Nonfiction! True books for children explain topics in easy to understand language. I've even used them to find out basic information for myself. Try one of our nonfiction plus early reader paired kits.

Sing and Tell Stories! Many of our favorite nursery rhymes, folk tales and songs from childhood appear as references in books. It's hard to laugh at a Three Billy Goats Gruff joke if you've never heard the story. 

Online Resources! Databases that offer reliable information on a variety of topics of interest to children. They even include pictures, videos and maps.

New People and Experiences! Come to events or storytimes at the library, try out a different restaurant, visit a different park or try a museum you've never been to. You and your children will be treated to interactions with different people, offering the opportunity to learn new things.

All of these ways will help give your child more information about the way the world works. The more they know now, the more they'll absorb when they get to school!