If the adage, “Everything I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten,” is true, then parents and teachers must ensure every child who starts kindergarten is ready to learn. At Foothill Christian School we are less concerned about what a child has learned prior to kindergarten and more concerned that they are ready to learn.
The following skills represent the pillars upon which future learning - including success in kindergarten – depends.
- Have your child hop, skip, gallop, or dance to rhythms of piano or drums.
- Walk a line four inches wide, eight to twelve feet long, in a heel-to-toe manner
- Roll, toss, bounce catch a ball. Start with larger balls and gradually change to smaller ball
2. FINE MOTOR SKILLS - small muscle development that helps children grip a pencil, use scissors and tie their shoelaces.
- Use clay, playdough, color, weave, fold cut lace and tie activities
- Fit objects together such as nesting cubes, simple jigsaw puzzles and cut-out stencils
- String beads in a reproduction of a pattern. String macaroni, sew with yarn
- Trace, outline, cut with scissors and finger paint
3. VISUAL DISCRIMINATION - the ability to differentiate between shapes, letters, numbers and other symbols. It is a crucial skill to the reading process.
- Sort objects by size, color content.
- Look at 4-5 items that are the same and one that is not. Child finds the one that is different
- Play card games such as “Slap Jack”, “Go Fish” or “Old Maid”.
- Cut pictures from magazines and cut off parts of the objects. Have your child draw the missing part.
4. VISUAL MEMORY - helps children accurately recall information they take in visually which supports the sequence of stories and events and retention of ideas.
- Play the Memory Game by Milton Bradley or Concentration
- Show your child a picture in a story book. Close the book and have your child tell you three things he saw in the picture
- Arrange some items in order. Have your child close their eyes and mix them up. Child puts them back in order from memory.
5. AUDITORY DISCRIMINATION - provides the necessary skill to distinguish between the sounds of letters, beginning – middle-and ending sounds, rhyming words and more. It also contributes to proper enunciation and speech.
- Always verbalize experiences with your child. When traveling talk about what you see.
- Play a game that has two step directions then increase to three and four steps as child shows mastery
- Have child close their eyes and listen while you perform common sounds like bouncing a ball or snapping fingers. Child then identifies the sound.
- Play games such as “I’m packing my suitcase and I put in _____”, and add more items one-by-one.
- Ask your child to recall outstanding events of the previous day.
- Clap your hands in a simple rhythm and have your child repeat it.
7. RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE - the understanding of age appropriate vocabulary, descriptive language and words in various contexts. A large part of comprehension is dependent on this skill.
- Play “I Spy” (a color, a shape or object) Say “I spy something you don’t see” and describe it. Child guesses the object.
- Ask child to pantomime activities such as: show me how you wash dishes, drive a car, brush your teeth, etc.
- Give directions which ask your child to place something on, behind, in front of, between, under and next to.
8. EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE - the ability for children to verbally express their thoughts, feelings and ideas.
- Have your child use a play or real telephone and play conversations.
- Have your child look at photographs or pictures and describe what he sees.
- Using a storybook, have your child “read” the story by telling you about the pictures.
9. REASONING SKILLS - are those that help children make good choices; demonstrate comprehension, and understand cause and effect relationships.
- While reading a story to your child, stop and ask him to make a prediction about what might happen next in the story.
- Show pictures or talk about opposites…front-back, hot-cold, old-new.
- Have your child sort items by various characteristics: plastic, metal, smooth, rough etc.
10. SOCIAL - EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT - is the child’s self-esteem center along with the ability to form positive relationships in both one-to-one and group settings.
- Give reasonable tasks around the house for which he is expected to be responsible; caring for his belongings, clearing the table, etc. Praise him when he starts and finishes those tasks.
- As you read to him, talk about how characters in the story might feel.
- Be an active listener to your child. Giving your full attention allows them time to build their thoughts and express them without being rushed.