Thursday, August 23, 2012

August is Kindergarten Readiness Month

It's that time of year; the kiddos are heading back to school or already have started, and we all know it can be an especially overwhelming time for the Kindergarten crowd. Did you know that kids learn more in their first 5 years than they do in the rest of their lives? And just imagine, Kindergarten means the culmination of all the things that children have learned over these past years; they are taking all they've learned about communicating with others, sharing, playing with others, sitting still, going to the bathroom, coloring, cutting, etc., and are finally applying it somewhere where it matters.

What we are called to do as Parents, Educators, or Librarians is to continue teaching and reinforcing the skills that these kids are learning. Many libraries are aiding this process through Kindergarten readiness storytimes, info on their websites, or the created space (sometimes separate rooms) where the Babies-Kindergarten crowd can work on their pre-school skills--I think the Every Child Ready to Read movement in recent years has really aided this last push. So, in the spirit of the month of Kindergarten Readiness, I thought I would share a few simple ways that we can encourage our little learners to grow. Have kids:
  • Practice holding a pencil correctly
  • Work on writing their name 
  • Practice coloring within the lines 
  • Practice cutting along the lines
  • Encourage playtime and sharing with others
  • Read stories together--a great way to get your little monkey practice at sitting still
  • Learn first and last names of Mom and Dad, home address, phone numbers
  • Work on puzzles together
  • Encourage the kids to help with housework
  • Give the kids multiple step instructions (go to your room, change your shirt, put your shirt in the washer)
  • Go over shapes, colors, numbers 1-20, ABCs
  • Read nursery rhymes or books like Dr. Seuss, which aid kids in learning rhyming words
  • Encourage independence by letting kids pick out their own clothes; they should be dressing themselves already, but start working on them doing buttons and tying shoes 
  • Exercise: Run, Hop, Skip, March, Jump, Stretch

    Just Googling Kindergarten Readiness will get you loads of information, but make sure to check with your local library and school for more help!
Today's Kindergarten Readiness inspired book is Nancy Elizabeth Warren's Ready, Set, 100th Day, a fun lesson in counting to 100 while sorting objects and making sets--great skills for Kindergarteners!--in preparation for the 100th day of school. Wallace's bunny hero counts by 5, 10, 20, 25, 50; the items lined up in a chart-like fashion, which makes the counting more comprehensive.

The artwork is beautiful, as it is in all of Warren's books; the story is simple; overall, the book will be a great tool for any parent or educator! I loved it!

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