• IS MY CHILD READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? There is a definite link between early childhood experiences and academic success. The responsibility for providing these experiences is a shared one. Families, schools, parents, daycares, preschools, and community members all contribute to the overall success of children. Tremendous success can occur when schools, communities, and parents form strong partnerships. The following are some examples of basic skills that have been recognized as contributing to success in school. Each of the five domains is followed by a list of activities/strategies that can be done to achieve proficiency within the domain. If your child cannot do every item on the list, it does NOT mean that he or she isn’t ready for kindergarten. Social-Emotional Interacts positively with other children and adults Demonstrates the ability to stay on task for fifteen minutes or longer Responds to verbal and non-verbal (body language, facial expressions) cues Manages strong emotions and is able to control impulses Separates easily from parents or caregivers Try these activities: Opportunities for group experiences – participating in community events such as t-ball, swimming, preschool, play groups in your  neighborhood, library story timesHelp your child identify feelings by pointing out facial expressions (happy, sad, angry, scared), body language and asking questions about those feelings Physical and Motor Development Demonstrates independence with self-care tasks (washing hands, dressing, toileting, and feeding one-self)Demonstrates fine muscle control (uses scissors and writing utensils, copies figures such as 0, X, +, E, ___)Attempts to write letters in their own name beginning with a capital letterDemonstrates large muscle control and coordination (hopping on one foot, balancing, throwing and catching a ball) Try these activities: Provide your child with the following play and work opportunities: peg boards, lacing, bubbles, legos Using blunt edged scissors to cut coupons, cut out letters in magazines, cutting playdoh Stringing beads, noodles, fruit loops Fastening belts, buttoning buttons, tying shoes, zipping coats and pants Household chores: sweeping with a broom, folding laundry, making a bed, setting the table Provide coloring and writing opportunities - have crayons, markers, chalk and watercolors available for them to use Play a game of catch with your child Explore different textures such as playdoh, shaving cream, and sand Literacy and Print Knowledge Recognizes own name in print Recognizes and names upper and lowercase letters Begins to associate sounds with letters and/or words Retells a simple story (who, what, where, when) Hears and makes rhyming words Uses scribbles, shapes, pictures or dictation to represent thoughts or ideas Concepts of print and book awareness (reading left to right, top to bottom, cover to back) Try these activities: Having books available throughout the home (picture books, predictable books, rhyming books, magazines, newspaper) Have a family reading time Take time when you are reading to your child to point out new vocabulary and asking questions related to the story (Examples, What do you think will happen next?  Who is in the story?) Sing favorite childhood nursery rhymes and songs (Row, Row Your Boat, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Practice singing and reciting the ABC’s Give your child a notebook, Magna-Doodle, whiteboards, writing paper to create notes, letters and thank you cards Demonstrate the connection between spoken words and written words by writing what your child says and reading what you write. Play I Spy with letters and symbols in the immediate environment Point out differences between left or right (“we are  taking a right turn”, Hokey Pokey, Simon Says with left and right, tracking print in a book from left to right) Mathematics Counts number of objects in small groups Counts in sequence 0-20 Recognizes and duplicates simple patterns Identifies and names common shapes, colors, numbers 0-20, matches numerals 0-6 to a set of objects Sorts objects by two or more characteristics Begins to demonstrate an understanding of basic time and money concepts Try these activities: Have fun counting out loud with your child from 0-20 Practice drawing numbers in sand, shaving cream, fingerpaints, use glue and glitter to create three dimensional numbers Challenge your child to match place settings to the number of people eating Make groups of objects using household items such as fruit loops, mini marshmallows, buttons Encourage your child to sort their toys by category, color, shape, size Have your child help cook and emphasize measuring concepts Play games such as Candyland, Hi-Ho Cherry-0, or use a deck of cards to emphasize taking turns, using dice, matching numbers and pictures and counting, and how to play fair Use real coins to identify, count, sort, and pattern Provide a calendar to help your child understand time concepts (count down to special events, to explain family schedules) Use stickers to mark special days on the family calendar Cross off past days Review calendar (yesterday, today, tomorrow, days of the week, month, season, number identification Communication Initiates, asks questions and responds in conversation with others Understands directional words (on, under, beside, top, bottom, left, right, first. last, over) Makes needs known through verbalizations or gestures, signs Follows directions involving two or three steps Try these activities: Practice greeting people (saying hello, making eye contact, using the person’s name) Model appropriate communication skills (listening, using please and thank you, interacting respectfully with others Take an interest in what your child is doing by asking them questions related to the activity.  Give them an opportunity to respond with words or pictures. Play a game with your child’s favorite toy (put “Mr. Bear beside the couch”,  “put Mr. Bear under the table”) Encourage independence by following 2-3 step directions brush your teeth and put your pajamas on put your shoes on the rug, hang your jacket up, and  go wash your hands for a snack