It’s been a busy week full of planning, scrapping the plan, planning again, scrapping again, and planning some more.
All in order to help our kindergarten friends continue to learn for the last nine weeks of school! I work with the best, and we’ve been working nonstop to figure out a way to answer one of our parents’ biggest worries.
How will my child be ready for next year?
I’ve also had some preschool mamas ask me for some ideas to get their babies ready to start kindergarten in the fall.
As a teacher, you get so involved in your daily routines that when it comes time to pick and choose what parts should go in the online instruction or send-home packets, you want to send it all. Every bit of it.
Every part of kindergarten is vital to public schooling.
But don’t despair, parents. A lot of the things that we do at school are routines that you can implement at home without a pencil and paper or worksheet. You may be doing some of these things already without even realizing it. The following list is not exhaustive; I’m sure that many things can be added. But if you are a parent who is worried that the packet won’t be enough–a parent who wants more than the videos and links and checklists, you can do these things daily and set your child up for success in Kindergarten and 1st grade.
1. Counting and Cardinality sounds like a fancy phrase, but it simply deals with counting in order. For the very young, count to 10 forwards and backwards. Make it fun, like a rocket blasting off! Give your child any number, like, 7, and have the child start there and count to 10 from there. Once 10 is mastered, move on to 20, and then 30! Ask your child what kind of patterns he notices as the numbers move up. For kindergartners going into first grade, you think of a “secret” number and let them guess the number by asking you yes/no questions. Is the number only one digit or two digits? Three digits? Is the number in the forties? Is it in the eighties? Does the number have a five in the one’s place? You can play a game called “Start With/Get to,” where the child pulls a number out of a bag, and that’s the number he starts with, and then pulls another number out of the bag, and that’s the number he gets to. This daily game will require him to count forwards and backwards from any given number within 100 to another given number within 100. Here is a great link you can go to so that your child can see a visual while counting to 100.
2. Counting to tell how many is an easy way to practice one-to-one correspondence at home. Have your child count anything and everything! Point out things that are obvious to you, that may not be quite as obvious to your child. Oh, I like the way you touched every single thing when you counted it. That’s what good counters do. Look how I am lining up my pennies to count them. That way I won’t count the same penny twice. Let’s make sure we only say one number for each pebble, and that we stop saying numbers when we run out of pebbles. Then we know how many we have. For very young children, start with no more than five objects. The more successful they become, add a larger number of objects. Cereal pieces, toys, rocks, coins, anything is fair game when you’re counting to tell how many! For kindergartners going into 1st grade, you can give them a large collection of objects, like 50 pennies. See how they organize their counting. Do they put objects in groups of five or ten? If they are still trying to count each object one at a time, you can encourage them to organize their collection into groups and then use what they know about counting by twos, fives, and tens to count correctly. If they have studied the 100 chart, students can organize their objects in rows of tens, like a 100 chart.
3. Acting out addition and subtraction stories can help the very young child understand the concepts of taking away and adding more. Your family members can act out stories where three were playing and one more joined them. How many people are playing now? How did we figure this out? You can also use toys to act out addition and subtraction stories!
4. Listening for sounds in words can help your very young child get ready to read and write in kindergarten. Pointing out words that rhyme, reading rhyming stories, and singing songs with rhyming words can get your child started with listening to sounds. Once she can find rhymes, you can point out word parts, or syllables. Apple–did you hear how that word has two parts? ap–ple. Hey what would happen if we took off the “mail” part of “mailbox?” What would be left? Just “box!” Right! For older kindergartners, you can point out individual sounds in words. Cat has three sounds. c….a….t (not letters, sounds). Can you write the letters that make those sounds? c…a…t. What sounds do you hear in log?
5. Reading to your child is good for EVERYTHING. When you think you’ve read enough books for one day, read some more. Your child will hear sounds, words, and phrases that will strengthen their vocabulary, comprehension, and even their awareness of sounds in words! Your child will learn to love books and reading, and when the time comes for them to take a book in hand to read on their own, they will be ready to take off!
6. Playing with your child can encompass 1-5 with little to no effort. While you are playing “restaurant” with your child, she can count utensils and you can point out words that rhyme with plate. 🙂 She can write a “list” of favorite foods, whether the list looks like scribbling, has some legible letters, or was copied from things in your own pantry. Her hand muscles got stronger in the play, and she wrote something that had meaning to her, in turn, showing her that words have meaning. With the extra time we have at home right now, using some of that time to play with your child just might get them ready for the next year ahead! And, it’s fun, too! 🙂
7. Working on self-help skills is always a bonus to your child that lasts through the years past kindergarten. Buttoning buttons, zipping zippers, tying shoes, and knowing how to pronounce their full name can help a child in innumerable ways.
These activities may not be sent home next week via the internet or a work packet. You may be thinking, “I already do this stuff!” If so, good for you! Keep it up and do the packet and don’t worry about next year. If you’re not doing these things and you are concerned about your child’s learning and growth towards the next school year, you could try adding these routines in your everyday life until they come naturally to both you and your child. Above all, any extra time you spend with your child is time well-spent that will benefit them in many ways!