Is Your Kid Ready for Kindergarten?

Kindergarten students sitting on the floor listening to teacher

The first day of kindergarten is a major milestone for young students and their parents. You might feel a little anxious as the big day approaches, and unsure if your little one is ready. What skills should your child have before making the leap to kindergarten?

Whether your child will be attending a public or private kindergarten (like Strelitz International Academy’s Early Years Program in Virginia Beach, VA), there are skills that, if mastered before school starts, will make the transition to kindergarten life much smoother.

Read on to learn some of the academic (and non-academic) activities your child should know before entering kindergarten.

Social/Emotional

– Separates from parents or caregivers easily.
– Adapts to new situations with relative ease.
– Sits quietly without interrupting.
– Expresses basic needs.
– Can play independently with other kids
– Works cooperatively and shares during playtime.
– Exhibits personal-care independence (i.e. using a tissue, washing hands, drinking from a water fountain).
– Knows when to say please, thank you, and excuse me.

Language & Reading

– Knows first and last name and can recognize the first name in print.
– Knows at least one parent’s first and last name, and can repeat home address, birthday, and an emergency phone number.
– Recognizes some or all alphabet letters, both uppercase and lowercase (doesn’t have to be in order), and can identify some letter sounds.
– Can say or sing the alphabet.
– Knows when two words rhyme.
– Recognizes familiar words and symbols, like stop signs.
– Pretends to read books.
– Offers input when being read to, and can tell personal stories.

Mathematics

– Recognizes and can say numbers 1-10 (not necessarily in order).
– Counts up to five objects.
– Arranges numbers in order from 1 to 5
– Identifies at least three shapes ( circle, square, triangle).
– Arrange objects in size order.

Reasoning

– Understands (and follows) directions with more than one step.
– Plays simple memory matching games.
– Classifies objects by physical features (i.e., color, shape, and size).
– Grasps the concepts of in/out, front/back, on/off, big/little, and up/down.
– Completes simple puzzles (up to four pieces).
– Identifies up to five colors.
– Understands the concept of cause and effect.
– Draws pictures to express ideas.

Physical Skills

– Holds a book and turns the pages.
– Builds with blocks.
– Opens lunch containers.
– Tries to tie their own shoes.
– Puts on and takes off a backpack.
– Uses buttons and zippers.
– Pour liquids without spilling.
– Uses pens, pencils, and art supplies with some control.
– Demonstrates gross motor skills like jumping, running, and/or bouncing a ball.

This list might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry! It’s totally normal for children not to have mastered every single skill before kindergarten. Plus, there’s a lot you can do to help them get up to speed.

Some Ways to Help Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

As mentioned above, your child might not master certain skills on the list until kindergarten – and you’ll be amazed at how much material teachers cover in a single year. But there are activities you can do with your preschooler to help prepare for kindergarten. Start by picking a few items on the checklist to try during playtime, and make a note of any that need more practice.

Encourage Independence at Home.

It may be faster to pitch in and help, but let your child dress himself, use the toilet, wash his hands, put on and take off his coat, and put on and remove his own shoes.

Your child should know how to blow her nose and cough into her arm without assistance. But of course, always make sure she’s comfortable asking an adult for help when the going gets tough.

Teach Responsibility.

You may already be doing this, but give your child some jobs to do, like making the bed, putting away toys, or filling water bottles before a family hike. Having responsibilities will make your preschooler feel empowered, and sets the stage for what will be expected in kindergarten.

Stick to Routines.

This is critical since the typical kindergarten day is tightly regimented. Begin waking up at the same time every morning, getting dressed, and loading a backpack well before school starts in the fall to make the transition seamless.

Read Aloud.

Take your child to the library. Checking out books is a surefire way to spark an interest in reading. Read together every day, and read anything you see together, like billboards and signs. Knowing how to rhyme is extremely important when learning to read, so try checking out some nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss’s books.

Lastly, prepare your child emotionally for this big change by talking about it frequently during the summer months.

Are You Looking into Private Kindergarten Schools in Virginia Beach?

Strelitz International Academy is a top private school in the Hampton Roads area of southeastern Virginia. We’ve developed a unique IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP) designed for 3- to 12-year-old elementary school students. We believe children thrive in smaller classes following a creative curriculum. We’re very proud of our experienced and compassionate teachers, staff, and administrators, all of whom hope to instill a love of learning that will last a lifetime.

Please contact us to schedule a tour and learn more about our programs. We’re eager to share what we offer! To find out more, call us at 757-424-4327.

5 Fine Motor Skills Needed for Kindergarten Readiness in 2021

A kid practicing gardening activity

Even if your child has experienced pre-school, moving on to kindergarten is still an exciting step into the “big kid” world. Besides shopping for school supplies and new shoes, there are things you can do to make sure your little one is ready for the transition, including working on fine motor skills.

What Are Fine Motor Skills?

We’re so used to our bodies doing whatever we need them to do for daily tasks that it may seem like gross and fine motor skills are completely intuitive. This isn’t the case. Whereas gross motor skills refer to how well we use the large muscles in our body to run, jump and get out of bed, fine motor skills develop the small muscles in our wrists, hands, and fingers, allowing us to do everything from tying our shoes and buttoning our shirts to typing on a keyboard.

For small children, honing their fine motor abilities and hand-eye coordination are important steps toward independence. The ability to open doors, zip up a backpack, and wash their own hands lays the foundation for skills that come later, such as holding a pencil and playing a musical instrument.

For example, before children can learn to write or draw, their hands need to be strong enough to hold a pencil steady for extended amounts of time. Dexterity and coordination are also essential in order to take part in school sports and games.

Here are 5 skills to help your child master before entering kindergarten:
Use a pencil or crayon with some control
– Cut with scissors
– Copy basic shapes
– Form numbers and letters, especially the ones in their name
– Put together simple puzzles

What Are Some Fine Motor Activities for Kids?

1. Playing with Play Dough
If you don’t have any play clay on hand, it’s easy to make your own. To strengthen hand muscles, encourage your child to squeeze, stretch, pinch and roll “snakes”.
2. Playing with Sponges
Gather together a clean sponge, two bowls, and some water, and you’ll have another fine motor skills activity to strengthen hands and forearms. Fill one bowl with water and leave the other one empty, so your child can soak the sponge in the water and then squeeze it out into the other bowl.
3. Painting
Finger painting is a great way for kids to not only practice using their hands but also get really messy! You can also introduce painting with a brush, which helps children learn how to hold a brush correctly and use it as a tool. Try paint-by-number kits for this activity.
4. Practicing with tongs and tweezers
Moving different tiny objects (like Cheerios or beads) from one container to the other builds strength and coordination – and is also really fun.
5. Water play
Find an eyedropper, fill a cup about a quarter full of water and let your child try to transfer the water from one cup to the other by drawing the water into the dropper and squirting it into the empty cup. To make this even more exciting, have several cups and dye the water different colors with food coloring.
6. Gardening and planting
Digging and gardening might seem more like a way to build gross motor skills but certain enrichment activities, like transferring seedlings, require smaller muscle control and hand-eye coordination skills. Grasping a trowel also practices using a pincer grip.

Are You Looking for a Private Kindergarten School in Virginia Beach or near Chesapeake, VA?

Strelitz International Academy is one of the best private schools in southeastern Virginia. We take pride in our IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP), which is available to 3- to 12-year-old elementary school students. We believe your child will flourish in our environment, thanks to smaller class sizes, a unique curriculum, and exemplary teachers, staff, and administrators. Our goal is to put your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning and educational excellence.

We invite you to visit and learn more about our curriculum. Click here to find out more, or please give us a call at 757-424-4327.

Importance of Pre-Kindergarten

Teacher teaching all Pre-Kindergarten students

What Is The Difference Between Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten?

Essentially, the goals of both preschool and pre-Kindergarten are the same – to get your preschool or pre-Kindergarten age child ready for kindergarten. One of the main differences between a preschool and a pre-Kindergarten classroom is the age and developmental abilities of the children who participate.

Depending on state licensing regulations and enrollment needs, the appropriate age for preschool is usually from 2 ½ to 4 ½ years old. Regardless of the child’s age, the learning is very similar, with emphasis on learning ABC’s, numbers to ten, and how to interact with other kids.

During the early preschool years, children develop vocabulary and language skills, are introduced to a wide variety of materials, and begin to learn how to work with others as well as independently. Both preschool and pre-Kindergarten classrooms emphasize learning through hands-on experiences, and exploration.

Pre-Kindergarten acts as the essential bridge between preschool and kindergarten and are designed for children who are 4 or 5 years old. While each child develops at his or her own pace, activities in pre-Kindergarten programs are focused on developing the skills and more advanced learning they’ll need to ensure success in kindergarten.

Why Is Pre-Kindergarten Important?

Research has shown that young children who participate in high-quality pre-Kindergarten programs enter school more ready to learn than their peers. A study in Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia found that children in state pre-Kindergarten scored 31 percent higher on vocabulary tests and 44 percent higher on math tests than those of non-participants, placing them three to four months ahead of non-participants.

According to the Urban Child Institutes, school readiness, i.e., the cognitive, behavioral and social skills that help a child perform at an appropriate level in school, is a good predictor of long-term achievement. Research suggests that there are four key dimensions of readiness – language and literacy, thinking skills, self-control, and self-confidence.

When these four foundations are strong, a child is ready to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. When a child enters kindergarten lacking the necessary skills to be successful, it’s much hard for him or her to keep up with their peers and move forward.

Pre-Kindergarten is also useful because many students need an extra year to get used to a classroom, and an educational environment where they can get excited about learning. Pre-Kindergarten can help a child develop confidence, making it easier to master concepts and learn to cooperate with their peers.

If you’re interested in a private school pre-Kindergarten program, consider our Strelitz Early Years Program. Our teachers guide students in a loving and nurturing environment which encourages language development, creativity, logical thinking, problem-solving and exploration of the world.

We know Early Childhood Education teaches emotional and social lessons along with basic educational skills. That’s why the staff, administration, and teachers of Strelitz International Academy believe in inquiry-based education rather than the standardized curriculums used in public school.

It’s also a reason why we chose to meet the rigorous demands necessary to become an International Baccalaureate (IB®) school, offering their Primary Years Programme (PYP) to students between the ages of 3 and 12 (kindergarten through 5th grade).

We invite you to come join us, learn more about our curriculum and our dedication to helping children learn so we can get their journey started. Give us a call at 757-424-4327.

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