Browsing Tag children

10 Tips to Prepare Preschoolers for Kindergarten

By dadsplay at March 4, 2011 | 1:31 pm | 0 Comment

10 Tips to Prepare Preschoolers for Kindergarten

10 Steps Parents Need to Take to Prepare Preschoolers for Kindergarten Success

One consistent piece of advice Kindergarten teachers give to parents of preschoolers is the importance of introducing kids to a school setting, when possible, to acclimate kids to the social and formal setting of a classroom.  As one retired kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Miller noted, “Children who have not been to preschool or who have not been taught preschool basics, such as writing, cutting, letters, and following directions,  at home, often begin the school year, academically and socially, behind their peers.”

Many parents ask what they should be doing to prepare their child for school.  First, it is important to note that it is the responsibility of parents to prepare their child for school even if the child is attending preschool classes.

In order for children to be prepared for Kindergarten, children should be capable of the following skills.

Strong Communication Skills

Children need to be able to communicate their needs, verbally, in class and also follow the process in order to communicate, such as raising a hand and waiting to be called on.  Children will also have to share in small groups.

Ability to Listen

Children will need to be able to be quiet and listen to the teacher throughout most of the day.  If children have not learned to sit still and listen to directions,  the child will have an adjustment period.

Follow Directions

From the time children are very young, they learn to follow basic directions, but once they reach their preschool years, they will need to be able to listen to several step directions and then follow the steps.  This is a skill that is easily practiced at home and during play.  Following directions will allow children to finish their work, learn the proper steps to doing an activity and how to order things.

Work with Peers

Most Kindergarten classes have time during the day when children will work in small groups or at stations.  As an example, there may be several reading groups in the class and small groups of children may work at the computer station, or on a science activity together.  Kids will need to be able to take turns, speak to other children, and be patient.

Work Independently

Throughout the day, kids will need to work independently to get specific work done.  This will require children to listen, follow directions, and ask questions if they are not sure how to proceed.  They need to be able to write, practice tracing, cut/paste, or even use the computer on their own.

Fine-Motor Skills (pencil grip, cutting skills, picking up small items)

Children will begin using pencils in Kindergarten and will need to be able to cut with scissors, pick up small objects for counting, and begin writing every day in class.  The more practice a child has had cutting, holding a pencil, marker, or crayon, drawing, and picking up small objects, prior to beginning Kindergarten, the stronger his/her fine-motor skills will be for the the increase in writing and fine-motor tasks they will be asked to do each day.

Basic counting

Although counting to 10 or 20 is not required to enter Kindergarten, knowing how to do some basic counting and manipulating of number objects will set a child up to begin the school year more prepared.  A child does not have to know a lot, but some very basic math concepts is a good starting place.

Basic Number and Letter Recognition

Children should be able to recognize all or most of their letters and numbers and write their name.  Those children that know their letters and numbers when they begin Kindergarten will be able to move onto reading much sooner than children that begin the year with no letter or number recognition.  If a child can read prior to kindergarten then he/she will be in a position to advance beyond many other kindergartners.

Basic Life Skills (put on and take off jacket/backpack, zip jacket, put on gloves, hang up items)

Children who go to Kindergarten being able to put away and take on and off their jackets, hats, gloves, and backpacks will be more independent.  Also, if the majority of the class is able to do these basic things, the teacher will have to spend less time on getting kids started in the morning and ready to leave in the afternoon and be able to spend more time on valuable teaching opportunities.

Basic Computer Skills

Today, most classrooms have a handful of computers available for students to use.  Children are beginning to use computers even as toddlers, so children going to Kindergarten with basic mouse skills already have a beneficial skill that will set them up for school success.

One comment I have heard, over and over again, from parents whose children attend strong academic preschools is, “I pay the preschool to teach my child.”  The concern here is to assume that because a child attends preschool he/she does not need additional help and guidance at home.  Preschool can help socialize children, teach them to follow directions, work with other children, and follow the routine of a school day, but it is in the home that children are encouraged to reach, learn, be creative and follow directions on a daily basis.  Parents need to understand just how important their role is in preparing their children for school and learning success.  It is the foundation parents lay down in the early years that will help shape the type of learner and student the child will become.

In an effort to help parents and preschools to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten, the National Kindergarten Readiness Initiative was developed to provide the tools and list the  recommended skills and knowledge preschoolers should be introduced to prior to kindergarten.  You can learn more at NationalKindergartenReadiness.com

by Kristin Fitch at www.NationalKindergartenReadiness.com

Kristin Fitch is co-founder and editor of ZiggityZoom.com and a network of family-oriented websites, including CuriousBaby.com, Mommie911.com and HamptonRoadsParents.com.  Kristin’s first inspirational parenting book, which she co-authored with Sharon Pierce McCullough, Parenting without a Paddle: Navigating the Waters of Parenthood has just been published.

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Vary Exercise for Physical & Mental Development of Your Child

By dadsplay at January 28, 2011 | 3:56 pm | 0 Comment

Vary Exercise for Physical & Mental Development of Your Child

Did you know that the more physical exercise your child gets, the more his brain develops?  Studies have shown that exercise actually helps further develop the areas of the brain that affect learning and memory.  Another good reason to limit time sitting around watching television or computer games.  Exercise also continues to help brain development in adults, so be sure to join in the fun.

For preschoolers, there are many different types of exercises you can encourage:

  • Play hopping games, hopping on one foot, then on both feet.
  • Teach your child to swing.
  • March to music, inside or out.
  • Walk up and down steps. Walk a straight line.
  • Run.  Have races in your backyard.
  • Practice playing with a ball.  Bounce, throw, kick and catch the ball.
  • Play on climbing equipment at the playground.  Go to a rock climbing center.
  • Dig holes in the sand or dirt.
  • Learn how to swim.
  • Ride a bike.
  • Practice balance.  Walk on the curb.
  • Do a crawling game.
  • Play Hot Potato
  • Dance to music.

There are so many fun types of exercise.  Try to vary them and incorporate some form of exercise on a daily basis.

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Geocaching Is A Fun Fall Outdoor Activity With Kids

By dadsplay at November 10, 2010 | 12:32 pm | 0 Comment

Geocaching Is A Fun Fall Outdoor Activity With Kids

Fall is officially here in most of the country.  With leaves changing colors and crisp mornings and early sunsets, it’s hard to miss.  Now that the weather has shifted and we’re all bundling up a bit more, finding outdoor activities to do with kids becomes more difficult.  One activity my daughters and I like to do is “geocaching”.  Just last weekend, we hiked through Seashore State Park in Virginia Beach, VA for about 2 hours, with a nice picnic break after we found the ‘treasure’ and swapped out some of the girls own toy trinkets for new trinkets in the newly found treasure.  Treasure found, treasure traded, bellies full, we headed home talking about all the cool stuff we found/did along the way.

Taking the definition from www.geocaching.com, geocaching is: “a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.”  “How does a geocache get created?” you ask.  A new geocache comes into existence when an individual (anyone that would like to hide their own container) hides a container in a public place, where geocachers are allowed to travel, then logs the container’s GPS coordinates at www.geocaching.com along with a description, size of the container and other miscellaneous details.  Then, would be searchers log on, identify the area they would like to hunt and identify the various geocaches they are interested in hiking to.

Here are some basic steps I go through prior to our adventure.  First I identify what area we’d like to explore and pull up the map of that area (Here is a map of one area we explore in Hampton Roads area of Virginia.)  Once I have the map, showing geocaches in the area, I mouse over each cache looking for our search criteria.  Criteria 1) Cache must be medium size or larger as this improves probability of toy trinkets (largest criteria for my girls).  Criteria 2) Difficulty and Terrain shouldn’t be greater than medium, as I don’t want my girls stressing over the trip.  As they get more experienced, we may change the criteria, but for now this works for us.  If a cache meets our criteria, I will click on it and upload to my GPS device.  While I am doing the research, the girls are packing the backpack with picnic items and toy trinkets as well as fall gear (hats, gloves, compass, flashlight).  Once they are packed and I have identified 3-5 caches, we head out the door for our next adventure.  Often Lola our dog accompanies us as an added bonus the girls really enjoy.

As a side note, geocaching.com has an iPhone app and probably apps for other smart phones.  The one issue I had using my iPhone was the signal would ‘bounce’ when I was in deep woods and could not hone in on the actual GPS location.  One moment, I’d be 10 feet away, 2 steps later, I’d be 50 feet away… in low wooded areas, I’d suggest using the phone app, but not for any serious woods geocaching.  Happy Hunting!!

By R.S.. Pierce

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