What Do Children Need To Know Before Starting Kindergarten?
The start of kindergarten marks the end of a child’s toddler years and opens them to a totally different educational world. Making that transition can be fraught with anxiety, from both the child and parent’s perspective. Whether they went to daycare, preschool or VPK, a new classroom and teacher can also bring new expectations and a more structured environment that the student hasn’t experienced before. There will also be standards a teacher expects a child to know before kindergarten. With so much going on, how to do you know if your child is ready to make the leap into the school system?
While many experts agree on some basic skills that children should know before entering school for the first time, no list will ever encompass all skills. Also, keep in mind that children learn at different rates and can master critical thinking skills at various times. But it never hurts to practice basic skills.
When entering a kindergarten classroom for the first time, it’s easy for new students to be overwhelmed with new friends, teacher, seating assignment, classroom materials and routines.
Certain math skills are essential for kindergartners. Those skills include counting to 10, recognizing basic shapes, matching numbers to groups, number lines and the difference between “more than” and “less than,” to name a few.
Kumon students learn these skills at the earliest levels of the program. But where they begin in the program also depends on what they need. The Kumon Math and Reading Program is an individualized program that specifically targets each individual child’s needs. A child who can’t count could begin by learning their numbers and counting along with an assistant. For those who might already be prepared for kindergarten and have more developed skills, the program can help them excel and get ahead.
A student’s reading abilities can dictate future success in their education. Beginning Kumon students will master pre-reading skills before learning to read. They learn to connect words to familiar objects by repeating words to an Instructor after hearing them read out loud. New vocabulary also helps develop phonemic awareness. Using pictures, they are able to point to and recite rhyming words and phrases.
Letter recognition, sounds and beginning sight words are all critical thinking skills that young students must master to be successful in kindergarten. Learning these skills not only will prepare them for kindergarten but also help them get ahead in their academic studies.
At Kumon, pre-K students practice these skills on their own through worksheet assignments and with an Instructor at the centre each week to reinforce the skills they develop over time. The students in the program do not advance through the program until they have mastered the skills.
Fine Motor Skills
The manipulation of small objects also can be an indicator of kindergarten readiness. These are called fine motor skills, and Kumon’s pre-K program also helps with these abilities.
Kumon’s worksheet-based program helps develop early writing skills by teaching students the correct way to hold a pencil, the amount of pressure to apply and the development of hand strength through tracing shapes and numbers. As students advance, the exercises become more difficult and prepare them for writing letters and numbers.
If you think your child needs help in achieving the necessary skills before they enter kindergarten, or if you want to sharpen their skills with more practice, Kumon can help.