Little Scholars is an educational services firm offering Kindergarten Readiness Assessments, enrichment classes and Educational Development Sessions. During our discussion today, I am going to discuss Kindergarten Readiness and ways to integrate the skills necessary for Kindergarten into your daily life. One easy way I recommend parents doing this is through “car games.” I will share a few of those with you.
Kindergarten is the first big step in a long line of formalized learning. However, 85% of a child’s brain is wiring for learning by the time he is five years old. It is critical to make sure we provide a solid foundation…no pressure Preschool teachers! In our society today, more and more children are attending Preschool. Even with the increase in numbers of children having early learning experiences not all are ready for Kindergarten.
First and foremost, your child MUST be five years old by September 30th to be eligible for Kindergarten. However, you may opt to “red shirt” your child just as I did with my oldest son who had a September birthday. The reason I chose to red shirt him was because I wanted him to be one of the older children in the class. With some age under his belt, I am hopeful he will be more mature emotionally and physically than some of his classmates. He is actually right in the middle age wise in his class. Time will tell about his maturity.
Social Skills!!!! Any teacher will tell you social skills are just as important if not more important than any academic skill your child may posses.
Can they take care of their personal needs? Encourage them to put own their own coat, socks, slip on their shoes, wash their hands, clean up after themselves… INDEPENDENTLY!!
How does your child handle their emotions specifically anger? Do they choose words or do they act out physically?
Can your child follow two step directions without constant reminders? This is an easy readiness activity to practice at home. Molly, please go get your coat and backpack…Hunter, please brush your teeth, put on your shoes and wait at the door for me. If you are looking for a game to play in the car, play Simon Says.
Does your child ask questions about the world around them? For example, why is the stop light red? This shows awareness of the world around them as well as cause and effect relationships. When answering these questions this is an excellent opportunity to integrate vocabulary words and discuss higher level thinking skills. Take the opportunity to point out interesting things in the paper or in a book and explain them to your child.
Does your child play well with others? Does he share? Does she take turns? I know we are talking about the temperamental preschooler, but these are life long skills. At home, encourage this by playing games and sticking to the rules (as hard as that may be).
Can your child hold scissors properly and cut on a designated line? If she has trouble with her scissor skills start by using thicker paper (construction paper) because it is thicker and gradually move to thinner paper such as newspaper or tissue paper. Also, snipping is the right place to begin. All kids LOVE to snip paper (I think it is the mess)!
Does your child hold a pencil correctly? Can she draw a person? Does he write his first name? An easel or the sidewalk is a fantastic place to help your child with pencil grip so they can begin drawing their person or name. If your child is having fine motor issues, Little Scholars has an excellent program called Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes to address these concerns.
Does your child run, jump and hop? Go ahead, have fun, hop to the car. Count the steps to your room! Can your child throw a ball?
These are all wonderful playground skills which is usually one of the best parts of a Kindergartener’s day, but gross motor skills are directly related to fine motor skills.
Some suggestions for gross motor development are: swimming, climbing the slide, monkey bars…for me these are so easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
Academic Skills (the one you have all been waiting for):
Can your child attend to an activity for 15-20 minutes? Encourage this at home by simply requiring them finish a given activity. I am convinced this is why they made a microwave timer!
Can your child complete a simple pattern?
Can your child tell a story? Let’s them embellish a make believe story….does it have a clear beginning, middle and end?
Can your child count to ten? At the stop sign, let your child count to ten before you can go.
I addressed this one, but will include it here too…can your child write their name in order starting on the left side of the paper? Reversals are okay at this age. Give them lots of opportunities to do this…finger writing in the bathtub, painting it with water on the fence, or writing it with sidewalk chalk.
Does your child speak in complete sentences? If they don’t mimic the sentence in full as oppose to constantly correcting them.
Can your child retell the general story line of a book?
Can he or she correctly label at least five colors?
Can he or she label at least four shapes?
Can your child recognize in isolation AT LEAST the letters in his/her name? It they can label all the upper case letters of the alphabet, that is a really great start to Kindergarten.
Have a letter hunt driving in the car (or at the grocery store), who can find six letter Gs first?
Can your child ask question and answer questions appropriately?
Complete a simple rhyme: bat, rat, cat….
Does your child speak in complete sentences?
Does your child recite a simple nursery rhyme or song? Like Humpty Dumpty
No child is perfect and they all develop at their own pace…remember it is a journey not a race.
Ask yourself these questions and be honest with yourself. Parents are the best judge of their child’s readiness for Kindergarten. Their teachers are there as a resource to guide you in making the best decision possible for your child.
If you are still on the fence, Little Scholars offers Kindergarten Readiness Assessments to answer your questions and Educational Development Sessions to help your child develop the skills necessary for Kindergarten success!