Preparing for kindergarten is an important topic for many parents, early childhood educators, and daycare providers. We asked Kirstin Parsons from Get Set for School (a new curriculum focused on helping preschool children prepare for kindergarten), to describe signs of kindergarten readiness in the areas of concept development, physical, social, and emotional development, number concepts, language, and reading and writing.
OwnADaycare: What is kindergarten readiness?
Kirstin Parsons: These days, kindergarten is more work and less play. It has become the new first grade. Even preschool is more demanding as teachers and parents push children to read and write earlier. This means that by the time they start kindergarten, children must be able to focus on given tasks, follow directions, interact well with others, and even write in journals.
OwnADaycare: Is there a best age to start kindergarten?
Kirstin Parsons: The best age to start kindergarten varies, just as much as students, teachers, and districts vary. Parents need to consider that students who start earlier or later than their peers will forever be older or younger, which may or may not have social and academic implications in higher grades. Schools and school boards set fair and appropriate age ranges by grade. Any potential exceptions should be handled on this level.
OwnADaycare: What are some signs of kindergarten readiness that daycare centers should look for with respect to the following areas of development?
Social and emotional development
Writing and reading
Kirstin Parsons: Each child has her own learning style and pace, and the following are broad guidelines of what a parent may want to help their child achieve prior to entering kindergarten.
Concept development – Reading with your child and helping them understand that letters have important meaning will help you child begin to think abstractly. In the Get Set for School program, we introduce preschool children to the concept of symbols and convey the value of letters.
Physical development – Movement uses big muscles (gross motor) and small muscles (fine motor), which are important for children to be able to explore, participate and interact in the environment. Learning to move their fingers, hands and arms to make movements that go along with songs, such as the Itsy Bitsy Spider, or stamping their feet to other songs will help young students develop the strength and stamina. Being able to imitate a teacher’s actions is an important foundation for success.
Social and emotional development – Preschoolers should be taught about sharing, taking turns, following simple instructions, waiting in line and participating in a group activity. They should be taught a sense of belonging and an eagerness to participate and learn. The ability to understand and respond to their classmates and teachers is critical to success.
Number concept – It’s good for preschoolers to begin to understand that written numerals represent the number of objects, particularly numbers 1 – 10, and the corresponding number of objects.
Language – Among other words, children especially need to know the words they will need to follow directions; these words include top/middle/bottom, directional words such as over and under, size and color descriptions, as well as instructional words such as start/stop and my turn/your turn.
Writing and reading – Many students between the ages of three and five are not ready to pick up a pencil and start writing. They simply lack the skills to start writing. However, they should be taught to hold a crayon and to identify numbers and letters. They should also understand the “tricks” of handwriting such as the fact that all capitals are formed by starting at the top of the letter, and know how each letter is formed using Handwriting Without Tears Wood Pieces or some other manipulatives. Studies show that children who handwrite better are more confident and do better overall in school, so teaching the fundamentals of handwriting is critical.
No related posts.