As a veteran teacher with more than twenty years classroom experience, I am often asked by parents and caregivers how they can assist in readying young children for kindergarten. I can’t overemphasize the importance of the kindergarten year and how vital it is for young learners. Research shows that brain development is faster in the first five years of life than at any other time. I hope the list below will assist in answering some questions and hopefully ease some anxiety.
It’s important to note that young children master skills at different points in their development. Don’t fret if your young child hasn’t mastered a skill yet.
The most important activity you can do to assist your young child in being kindergarten ready is reading aloud.
Children who are read one book a day will hear about 290,000 more words by age 5 than those who don’t regularly read books with a parent or caregiver. Positive early experiences with books provide opportunities for children to to develop critical emergent literacy skills. Students who are read to develop a more expansive vocabulary and begin school with greater background knowledge. In addition, students who hear more vocabulary words are better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school. Reading aloud and talking about what you read is a precusor to assisting children in picking up reading skills more quickly and easily.
Below are some additional skills that can assist young learners beginning kindergarten:
- Recognize and name numbers 1-10 (out of order).
- Count orally to 20.
- Count up to 10 objects with one-to-one correspondence.
- Recognize lower and uppercase letters of the alphabet (out of order).
- Identify basic colors.
- Correct grasp when holding a pencil and crayon - "tripod" grasp (thumb bent, pointer finger pointing to the tip and resting the crayon on the side of the middle finger with the last two fingers curled into the hand).
- Identify and write first name.
- Properly holds a book and turns pages.
- Correctly use safety scissors.
- Tend to restroom needs.
In closing, I hope this summer you enjoy reading aloud with your child and find time for open-ended and active exploration, play, and investigation. It is wonderful to see the world through the eyes of a child.
Wishing you a safe and fun-filled summer.
Ms. Parrino is a kindergarten teacher at North Live Oak Elementary in Livingston Parish. She is a National Board-Certified educator in early childhood and holds a Master’s + 30 in curriculum and instruction, as well as her Reading Specialist and Teacher Leader Certifications. Ms. Parrino works as a mentor assisting new teacher candidates. Additionally, she is passionate about integrating science into her kindergarten curriculum. Mrs. Parrino is eager to begin her 25th year in kindergarten this August.