Kindergarten Skills–How Can We Help?

The year of ECFE is coming to a close, and our Kaleidoscope preschool will be ending the school year program at the end of May. This serves as a reminder to be sure to get your registration in for next year’s programing–the earlier you register the more likely you are to get your first choice class. However, there will be a large number of “graduates” from the early childhood program in May.  These children will be anticipating a year of kindergarten when the long summer days shift into frosty autumn mornings. As parents we look forward to this big milestone–there is so much about starting school to be excited about!  We also want to be sure that our children are prepared to meet the expectations of the school system. The Early Childhood School Readiness Team for Hopkins Schools shared some of the basic skills–academic, social and emotional–that students should come prepared with when they first walk into the school with their backpacks, new crayons and pencils, and likely a quickly beating heart.  Knowing what the teachers will be looking for ahead of time, parents can work with their children over the summer to help them meet these goals.  That first day of school, we can then be sure that we have given them all we can to help ensure their success: a huge hug, a confident smile, and the early foundational skills they will need to feel at home in their new kindergarten classroom.

Letter Skills:

  • Write name using upper case first letter and lower case letters for the rest of the name
  • Know letters and the sounds of those letters–don’t need to know every letter, but should know letters of own name
  • Recognize some common “environment” words: Stop, In, Out
  • Draw simple shapes (circle, square, straight and curvy lines)
Number / Math Skills:
  • Name and draw simple shapes
  • Count objects up to 10
  • Recognize numbers up to 10
  • Understand “same”, “less” and “more”
  • Sort objects by color or shape
  • Make and describe a simple pattern (A,B,A,B,A,__)
Fine Motor Skills:
  • Have practice cutting with scissors
  • Have practice coloring with crayons
  • Have practice painting
  • Have practice using a pencil—free hand drawing as well as copying letters
Pre-Literacy Skills:
  • Be familiar with stories and books
  • Understand that print is read from left to right
  • Tell and listen to stories for 5-10 minutes
  • Speak in 5-6 word sentences
  • Sing songs and recite rhymes
School-Ready Skills:
  • Be comfortable being away from parent in a new setting
  • Have experience in group settings–both structured and unstructured
  • Be able to follow directions
  • Be able to ask for help
  • Be able to dress self, including zippers
  • Be able to complete toileting tasks
  • Maintain attention for 10-15 minutes
  • Be able to understand routine, and adjust to changes
Social Skills:
  • Be able to take turns
  • Be able to “enter” play with others
  • Be able to share
  • Show self-control and be able to wait
  • Be able to solve problems
  • Be able to keep self occupied with tasks
The overwhelming thing about making a list of skills is that the list itself seems so long!!  However, parents will quickly realize that many of these skills your near-five year old has already acquired through the natural play, structured classes, meandering conversations, and child-centered activities that your family has been enjoying for years. Many of these skills are most easily learned by playing games, naturally incorporating the skills into every day tasks.  For instance, counting the stairs as you go up or down them will help your child learn to count to 10 with great speed.  Singing favorite songs together while driving in the car will reinforce rhyming. Allowing your child to play freely with crayons or markers will help to build all the fine muscles in the hand, which will allow the correct grip on a pencil to come naturally.  Please use the above list as a way of assuring yourself that your child is on the right track, not as a checklist to be the “lesson guide” for a summer routine of school readiness.  If you notice a spot where focused attention should be paid–then the list has served you well! However, if you feel your child is meeting these goals already, then find the natural “teachable moments” to reinforce them, without creating a stressful atmosphere around the event.
Let the spring and summer months create long days of carefree, joyous playing together–it is in these happy relaxing times that childhood memories and childhood lessons are best learned.

Kindergarten Bridge Events: Explore the Classrooms!

Kindergarten Bridge is a great opportunity for your child to get more comfortable in a kindergarten classroom before school starts.

Join our District’s Learning Readiness Specialist, who will share ways you can help your child get ready for school in the morning, develop math and reading skills, calm down when upset, and get along with others. You will also have a chance to meet the principal, along with children who will be in kindergarten at your child’s school in the fall. While you meet with other parents, your child will participate in engaging learning activities led by a licensed early childhood teacher.

Attendance is encouraged but not required. There is no fee for this event. This class is for parents and kindergartners only. No childcare is available for brothers and sisters. Registration is required, call: 952-988-5000.

2015 Kindergarten Bridge dates:
Alice Smith: May 18, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Eisenhower, XinXing: May 21, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Gatewood: April 30, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Glen Lake: May 12, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
L.H. Tanglen: May 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Meadowbrook: May 14, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Free Class! Baby Massage

Kara Quist, pediatric physical therapist and certified infant massage instructor, invites you to share a special time with your baby (ages birth to crawling). The loving touch of parents not only comforts and soothes infants, it can also play an important role in growth and development.
Infant massage promotes attachment, encourages deeper and longer sleep patterns in babies, relieves fussiness, and comforts baby during teething, gas and reflux.

Wednesday, March 11  6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Harley Hopkins Family Center – room 34
125 Monroe Avenue S.
Hopkins, MN 55343
Child care for children birth through kindergarten is available with registration, $5 per child.

Register online or call 952-988-5000