Archive for March, 2015

Kindergarten: To Go Or Not To Go

Mar 31

This question is a huge issue for both families and schools. Every year as I meet with my future Kindergarten students and their parents at least one family will tell me they are concerned about whether or not their child is truly ready to come to school. And then they ask “What do you think?” This is not an easy question to answer. In fact there really isn’t one great answer to give. It all boils down to what everyone involved in the child’s education can agree on. That being said, here are a few suggestions I have that I hope will help you with your decision on whether or not to send your child to Kindergarten this year.

First and most importantly follow your instincts on this subject. You know your child better than anyone else. You know if they can handle social situations, being away from you for the day while having to show lots of independence and continue to grow that independence throughout the year and how they learn. If you feel your child is well rounded socially, can handle the new CCSS curriculums and the rigor that comes with them and your child is excited to come to school, please send them.

If you are questioning if you should send your child or not, than your instincts are telling you something. Here are some suggestions we give to parents. 1). Hang in there you still have 5 months until Kindergarten starts. Try out different social situations while working with your child to help them grow a little more independence. 2.) Consider holding your child one more year before you send them to kindergarten. I have met many parents who regretted sending their children too early; I have never met one who regretted keeping their child at home for one more year. 3.) Consider doing a year in preschool, if your child has not previously been involved in a preschool program. Or do another year if they are currently enrolled in preschool. 4.) Ask if your school has a red shirt program. Red shirt programs allow your child to do Kindergarten twice. Giving them that extra year before they jump into first grade. 5.) Keep your child home for one more year. My own grandson stayed out a year and will be starting this fall. It turned out to be a wonderful gift to him to do preschool again this year. 6.) Talk to the kindergarten teacher before school starts. If they feel your child is not ready for the kindergarten experience find out why and how you can help. Remember these teachers have a lot of experience with children that have both succeeded and not succeeded. They are trying to help your child have a great kindergarten year and it’s not a personal jab at you if your child needs more time to get ready for school. They are there to help your child have the best first year in school experience ever, glean their knowledge and use it to help you make your decision.

The most important thing is to remember once you make up your mind, stick to your decision. It is a great choice. What your friends kids or preschool kids you know do is of no concern to your child’s education and whether you made the right choice or not. You are your child’s best advocate. If you are choosing to send your child to school this coming fall, I hope they will have a wonderful year. If you are choosing to keep them home one more year I hope you enjoy your extra time with your little one at home.

Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten!

Mar 30

So it’s the end of March and my first thought every year around this time is how can I help parents make sure their kids are ready for Kindergarten before the school district screening in August? My district has always assessed and met with the parents and in coming Kindergarten students each year to go over what their child is good at and where they have needs for growth. But let’s face it, August is a little late to be hearing about the things your child needs to be working on. Reality is Kindergarten starts two weeks after the assessments. So I have been kicking around the idea of doing some short blogs for parents on making sure your child has what they need to be successful and give you some time to work on some basic skills. As I thought more and more about what I could write about, I realized I should divide my ideas into three basic groups. First, basic kindergarten skills that every child should be working on or already know to be successful. Secondly, things parents can do to make their partnership with the school and teachers easier for the students and their families. And lastly, how to unpack the CCSS standards at a kindergarten level so every family knows what to expect for the school year and how to help their child achieve their goals.

And so starts my first set of blogs. What every child needs to know before they leave kindergarten. Notice the big leave in dark, bold type. Please don’t read this and think, “We are behind!!! What are we going to do?” My goal as a kindergarten teacher has always been to take your child from where they are on that first day of school and work with them to make sure they can master all of these developmental goals before they leave me. Is every child successful? No! I would be lying to you if I said they were. But these are my goals none-the-less. My little kiddos work hard at trying to accomplish their goals each year.

The bottom line with these goals though, is the closer your child is to each of these goals, directly ties to the success they are going to have not only throughout Kindergarten but throughout their education. Starting out with any kind of educational deficit is a frustrating struggle to a student. And the honest truth is the more they have in their bag of educational knowledge before they come into my classroom, the more successful they will be. I hope my blogs over the next few weeks will help you to better understand what kindergarten teachers are looking for in an incoming student, give you resources to work with your child in a fun, non-classroom style of learning and make you feel confident in your child’s abilities to succeed in their first elementary school setting.

So, Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten!