Friday, January 29, 2010

Kindergarten Readiness

There seems to be much concern over kindergarten and the issue of readiness. With this in mind I have read up on some of the considerations for kindergarten preparation. Actually kindergarten has changed in recent years. The controversy is how academic should kindergartens be? And how do young children learn? Due to pressures from parents and society’s need for higher test scores, curriculum from the higher grades has been pushed down to the lower grades and into kindergarten. This is when early childhood professionals get frustrated because we know that young children under the age of six learn differently from older children. Quoting from Betty Farber’s article “Getting your Child Ready for School”--

“Professional organizations, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children, The Association of Childhood Education Internationals, and the International Reading Association have voiced their concerns about the academic kindergarten programs. They say that schools are pressuring children to learn using methods that do not fit the ways young children learn best. They are concerned that many kindergarten children are subjected to formal reading programs in which there are unrealistic expectations for children to succeed; that too little attention is placed up on reading for pleasure, so that children do not associate reading with enjoyment; that little attention is given to children’s individual development and individual learning styles.”

Don’t be overly concerned with academics right now. You parents are already doing a great deal to insure success in kindergarten for your youngster. You read to your children, you go on family outings, you model a love for learning, but most of all you are very involved in the lives of your children. This will make kindergarten a wonderful time for your child, and start him/her on the road to a good education.

For what it is worth, I believe the two skills needed for kindergarten are first, listening and following directions and secondly, good social skills. The rest will come as the children mature. Here are 10 skills that will help your child succeed in kindergarten:

Readiness for School*
Kindergarten readiness is most apparent in children who:
1. Feel capable and confident, and tackle new demands with an “I can do it” attitude.
2. Have an open, curious attitude toward new experiences.
3. Enjoy being with other children.
4. Can establish a trusting relationship with adults other than parents.
5. Can engage in physical activity such as walk, run, climb (children with handicaps can have a fine time in kindergarten if school and parents work cooperatively on necessary special arrangements).
6. Take care of their own basic needs, such as dressing, eating, and toileting.
7. Have had experience with small toys, such as puzzles and crayons.
8. Express themselves clearly in conversation.
9. Understand that symbols (such as a stop sign) are used to provide useful information.
10. Love books, stories and songs and can sit still to listen.

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