20 July 2015

Top Ten Readiness Skills for Your Kindergartener

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In my former life, I was an elementary teacher and an elementary principal.  I taught mostly grades 3 and up, but I often took on the younger grades during summer school.  It always gave me a strong appreciation for my older students!



As a principal I was able to enjoy all the grades, but I particularly loved being a principal to kindergarten students.  The excitement!  The joy!  The range of experiences!

This list is a list of readiness skills that I think will help any kindergartener be successful in the classroom.  These skills are ones that are anticipated by most kindergarten teachers.  There are many other skills that are important, too, but these will particularly help your student master the skill of school!

Top Ten Readiness Skills for Your Kindergartener

1.  Counting.  Counting is the foundation of all math in kindergarten.  Showing your student the one to one connection in counting will help your child in math and in the social aspect of kindergarten (counting the number of students at the table for treats, for example!)  How do you do this:  count everything you see!  Trees, flowers, dishes, you will know what I mean when you start to count!

2.  Having a sense of "book."  Books have certain attributes.  For example, the spine of the book is the hard piece that runs along the back.  Holding the book so that the print and pictures are right side up is important, as well as know that the book pages turn from right to left.  Knowing how to treat books will also be a skill your kindergarten teacher will appreciate!


3.  Writing stories.  Not so much the writing of words, but being able to put down on paper a drawing that represents a story and being able to tell the story from the drawing.  The best way to practice this is to have an experience, such as making breakfast, and then have your child draw it and retell the story.  Talk about how all experiences can make a story, even the ones as simple as making breakfast.  These are called "small moments" and are so valuable in writing!


4.  Asking questions.  Can your child ask a question when they are frustrated or confused?  It is important for a student to be able to let the teacher know when things aren't right in their world.  With others in the classroom having their own issues, the child should be able to articulate his/her needs.

5.  Listening.  This is so hard!  The teacher will be giving instructions all day, for different parts of the day.  It is important that your child be able to listen carefully for what he/she is to do.  The teacher is fabulous at taking complicated tasks (like lining up) and breaking it down into small steps.  It will be up to your child to manage that small step.  Practice by reading!  Change your voice for different characters in the book, ask your child about what the characters were supposed to be doing!
6.  Making transisitions.  Many times during the day the teacher will ask students to stop what they are doing, clean up, and get ready for the next activity.  These transisition times are so frustrating for kids, especially if they were having fun! Practice by making transitions at home, saying, we are done with dinner, it is time for practice.  Making those announcements will help your child  hear the cadence of a transition and to be prepared for the next activity.


7.  Being self sufficient.  Can your child put on his own shoes, coat?  Grab his own backpack and lunch box?  These skills will help your child feel independent and will often benefit him by being ready more quickly than other students.  Provide a mental model for your child when getting ready to leave school for home.  Say aloud when  you are getting ready to leave the house, do I have my keys? my lunch?  so that your child will do the same at school.


8.  Recognize his own name.  Many spaces at school are labeled with the child's name.  Being able to recognize their own name helps a student find his place more quickly.  It is important to be able to recognize their car (for afterschool pick up) and care givers (if applicable). An added bonus is having the child being able to write their first name, using a capital letter and lower case letters.  This aides in the child feeling independent as well!


9.  Sitting quietly on the carpet.  Many kindergarten teachers teach by having their students sit on the carpet in front of them.  Students are expected to keep their hands, feet and other items to themselves.  Learning how to respect the personal space of others will keep students out of trouble!


10.  Share.  Such a simple concept, so difficult to do.  The nuances of sharing are even difficult for some adults.  Sharing is expected in a school environment because there is a limit to the amount of toys, computers, books, etc in a classroom.  Sharing should be equitable, however, so if your child has just received the toy and another child wants it, your child should be able to articulate that they just got the toy and want some time with it.  

Kindergarten is a wonderful time to be in school.  Each of the items on this list is shared so that you and your child both have a wonderful year in kindergarten!



For other "Top Ten" school related lists, visit these other great blogs!

Top 10 School Bus Crafts from Craftulate
Top 10 After School Snacks from Nemcsok Farms
Top 10 DIY School Supplies Projects from Crafty Kids at Home
Top 10 Homeschool Room Essentials from School Time Snippets
Top 10 Nature Study Supplies from Rhythms of Play
Top 10 Back to School Math Activities for Kids - Little Bins for Little Hands
Top 10 Back to School Science Activities at Preschool Powol Packets
Top 10 Back To School Printables from The Pleasantest Thing

After checking out these other top ten lists, head over to Momma Told Me linky party!

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