There is a general consensus that too many US children are entering school without essential readiness skills. However, there is a lack of consensus as to what constitutes readiness and a corresponding lack of consensus as to the type of early childhood experience that is most likely to prepare children for academic success. This paper offers a perspective, grounded in theory and practice, on issues of readiness and education during the preschool and kindergarten years. This perspective involves a view of human development that stresses the role of adult involvement in young children's learning and emphasizes the preschool years as atime for building cognitive skills that will serve as essential foundations for later academic learning. Images drawn from practice in Korean early childhood classrooms illustrate how teacherdirected activities may foster preschool children's development of these essential cognitive foundations in a developmentally appropriate manner.