Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer To-Do List: Consider Kindergarten Readiness

 Many WA children are looking forward to their first year of kindergarten at the end of this summer. They will meet new people, spend time in a new classroom and learn new rules. As a parent or caregiver, you can help your child start kindergarten ready to succeed. In their earliest years, children can learn and develop so much--simply through playing, exploring and reading with a parent. 

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) believes that school readiness is about much more than whether a child is ready. Many people have a role to play in ensuring children enter kindergarten ready to learn. Kindergarten readiness is achieved when children, schools, parents and families, and communities are prepared.

DEL has committed to working with our private partner, Thrive WA, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to support families, parents, schools and communities in helping children succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

The Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) helps ensure that children in Washington get a great start in kindergarten. WaKIDS is a development tracking system created to help early learners, families and educators work together, learn about children's strengths, and share information with the pre-kindergarten communities in Washington. To learn more about the program, go visit the WaKIDS page online or watch the WaKIDS video

According to WaKIDS standards, children who are ready to enter kindergarten show signs of development in several areas. The following are small examples of how your child might be showing signs of kindergarten readiness. 
  • Social-emotional
    • Example: your child might be able to easily join other children at play, and play cooperatively.
  • Physical
    • Example: your child is able to throw a ball or other objects, trap a thrown ball against his or her body, and/ or kick a ball forward by stepping or running up to it.
  • Language
    • Example: your child may be able to name the cow, horse, chicken, pig, sheep and goat as he or she sees them on a trip to the farm and is beginning to be more descriptive, such as “The red barn had three sheep inside.”
  • Cognitive
    • Example: your child is able to ask for a solution and use it like asking another child to hold his cup while he or she pours. 
  • Literacy
    • Example: your child recognizes and can say words that repeat sounds, he or she may repeat the “b” sound by singing, “I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee.” Your child is beginning to be able to identify sound patterns: “Max and Maya… our names start the same!”
  • Mathematics
    • Example: your child is able to combine and separate up to five objects and describe the parts. He or she may say, “I have four cubes. Two are red and two are blue.”
For the full listing and deeper explanation of the six areas of development above, read "The Characteristics of Entering Kindergarten."

For a printable brochure about Kindergarten Readiness, click here: DEL Kindergarten Readiness

This summer, consider working with your little learner on these six areas. Reading with your child, exploring the outdoors, and playing games with educational components contribute to kindergarten prep. Being proactive with your child's learning will be beneficial in the long run as families are children's first, most important and life-long teachers. 

Quick tip: one creative example of productive play at home was featured in yesterday's National Association for the Education of Young Children's blog regarding music.

For an even more in-depth look at developmental guidelines, read the "Washington State Early Learning and Developmental Guidelines."

See also the WaKIDS pathway to success graphic below:

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