Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten....from a kindergarten teacher's perspective

Many of my friends ask me what to think about when determining whether or not their child is ready for kindergarten. Here is a checklist that I have taken from and have edited and revised it with what I think is important to know. First, let me say that I attended an incredible seminar by David Thomas of DayStar counseling and the author of Wild Things The Art of Nurturing Boys. He said that if you have a boy and they are on the young side (this would be my son), it is best to WAIT a year before starting kindergarten than to push them through. I couldn't agree with this more. Boys mature more slowly than girls. There attention span is shorter. Their need for physical movement is greater. I refuse to start my son out as a 4 year old in a kindergarten class filled with 5 1/2 year olds and mature 6 year olds. I have seen first hand how large of a gap those few months present and it is very difficult for a 4 year old boy to make friends and be on the same maturity level socially as the majority of his peers. This can go for girls too. If your child is on the younger end and academically ready for kindergarten but is still not quite as mature as many 5 and 6 year olds, I would really reconsider enrolling in kindergarten. So here are some things to help you decide:

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

While there's no perfect formula that determines when children are truly ready for kindergarten, you can use this checklist to see how well your child is doing in acquiring the skills found on most kindergarten checklists.
Check the skills your child has mastered. Then recheck every month to see what additional skills your child can accomplish easily.
Young children change so fast -- if they can't do something this week, they may be able to do it a few weeks later.

  • Listen to stories without interrupting
  • Recognize rhyming sounds
  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Understand actions have both causes and effects
  • Show understanding of general times of day
  • Cut with scissors
  • Trace  and name basic shapes 
  • legibly writes first name
  • writes numbers 0-10
  • Begin to share with others
  • Start to follow rules
  • Be able to recognize authority
  • Manage bathroom needs
  • Button shirts, pants, coats, and zip up zippers
  • Begin to control oneself
  • Separate from parents easily
  • Speak understandably
  • Talk in complete sentences of five to six words
  • Look at pictures and then tell stories
  • Identify rhyming words
  • Identify the beginning sound of some words
  • Identify ALL upper and lower case alphabet letters
  • Identify ALL letter sounds 
  • Understand basic concept of print 
  • Sort similar objects by color, size, and shape
  • Recognize groups of one, two, three, four, and five objects
  • Count to ten 
  • Bounce a ball 
  • has a good pencil this link for practice: Teaching correct pencil grip

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Letter Cc!

There are so many activities to do with Letter Cc! We started by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I printed off (on cardstock) some of the foods from the book to use to retell the story. Click here for the pictures: The Very Hungry Caterpillar felt board pieces  Its important to help your child retell stories that you read together. This builds comprehension skills. Ask questions like, "What did he eat first?", "What happened after he ate all the food?", etc. Have your child use the felt board pieces to guide them when answering the questions. We also talked about the Days of the Week in this story.

We also counted each food item in the book. I showed my child that we count each item slowly and say the number as we touch each item. This helps to teach one-to-one correspondence.

For our craft, I cut out a bunch of different colored circles from construction paper. I wrote each letter of my son's name on each individual circle (in upper case letters). I had him trace my letters with a marker. Then we practiced spelling his name out with the circles. I let him have a blank circle to draw a smiley face on. Then, we glued the circles together to make a caterpillar that spelled out his name. He loved it! We hung it in his room and each night he says the letters in his name in order as he points to it! I also made up a song with the letters in his name to learn the order. I used it to the tune of "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes". Other easy tunes are "Where is Thumbkin" (for names like B-E-N, B-E-N, my name is Ben, my name is Ben...), Jingle Bells, Row Row Row Your Boat, The Farmer and the Dell, and the Mickey Mouse song can all easily be changed into songs that spell out a child's name.

For lunch we had casserole and carrots. For snack we had Crasins and Cantaloupe.You could also make cookies together.

Counting! We practice counting each night to 20 while I he washes his hands and face.

Letter Zz!

The letter Z! We took a trip to the zoo first thing before it got hot!  Before going, I printed off  an alphabet chart and took zoo animal stickers with us. While there, we talked about what letter each animal started with and put an animal sticker on that letter. It turned into a fun game! We had a mid-morning picnic snack at the zoo...Zapp's potato chips and Animal crackers that I called "Zoo Crackers" (very healthy, I know)!

Once we were home we read our Zoobooks magazine about Zebras. Then we made the letter Z with stripes to look like a zebra. Printable large alphabet letters

A fun book we made was from the "Itsy Bitsy Letter Book" series from KidZone. You can find it along with the others here: Itsy Bitsy Books
Then, my little baker and I made homemade zucchini bread that was out of this world!! Click here for the recipe: Mom's Zucchini Bread
 Today, we also talked about what zig-zag lines are.I think that it is VERY important for children to learn pre-writing skills before learning to form actual letters. I started pre-writing skills with my son shortly after he turned three. I found a book at our grocery store that I really liked which had great pre-writing tracer pages in it. The book is called, "Big Workbook Preschool" by School Zone publishing company. It is important for young children to learn to trace straight lines first by tracing, then curved, full circles, and zig-zag lines. Having these skills will help them with letter formation when they begin to write. So, focusing today on "zig-zag" lines, we traced zig-zags, cut zig-zags, and then made zig-zags with Elmer's liquid glue and then sprinkled glitter on them. I also used blue painter's tape to make a zig-zag pattern on our garage floor for my child to walk down, and then hop down, and last ride a tricycle down. I made it pretty large so that he could really get the movement with his tricycle. Here is a link to Amazon if you'd like to purchase the workbook that I'm talking about: Big Workbook Preschool