By Ama Brown,
Special to the AFRO
This week, the AFRO took a look at Kindergarten readiness for new students in the Baltimore City School System (BCPSS). We spoke with a few of the city’s early education teachers, Karan Greene, an early learning teacher at DaySpring Headstart’s Dukeland site, and Baltimore City Public Schools Teacher, Teiera Duppins, of BCPSS.
They gave us their top recommendations for preparing your new student for the kindergarten classroom experience. It can be a big transition for some individuals moving to a formal classroom situation. Here are some key aspects of preparing your child for a new stage in their lives.
First, Duppins says when it comes to young students, “help them develop independence at home by using a growth mindset model.”
A growth mindset, according to Duppins, is the concept of heading into any new experience with the understanding that with enough practice, time, and support, we can accomplish anything we choose- if we persist. Trying to create a positive learning environment for your new learner is important. This is one of many ways to go about doing just that. If preparing children for school is a task as vast as the ocean, having a growth mindset goal like this can be a life raft with provisions.
Below you will see five areas of learning that they will need to have some experience before their first day. When asked, Greene, an expert in her field, spoke of these five areas of importance to focus on when preparing your little scholar for kindergarten.
If your child hasn’t mastered all of these things that is normal. Simply making the effort to introduce these things in a setting where they are comfortable will help build confidence. If you’re using the growth mindset model as your guideline then you will be right on track with the philosophy held with its structure.
Within each area are several things you can choose to focus on to help support their learning in each area.
- Physical well being
- If you have not established a routine for them– now is a great time. Since kindergarten doesn’t include nap time these days, it is wise to have a set bedtime, wake up routine, etc. This can help with the transition of a new sleep schedule.
- Students should have an understanding of safe and unsafe behaviors. Being able to listen to those in authority and follow directions are important skills. Your child’s instructor will only be able to teach if they are able to manage the classroom behaviors and culture.
- Kindergarteners should have the ability to manipulate tools such as scissors, pencils, etc.
- Social and emotional
- Scholars should be able to follow directions and know how to seek support when in need of help
- Kindergarten students should be able to identify emotions that they are having as well as others;
- Be able to start and finish a task
- Language and literacy
- Scholars should be able to identify letters both upper and lower case, the sounds of each letter, and rhyming words
- Young students should understand word meanings and use full sentences;
- Understand that words can have multiple meanings and be able to communicate those meanings
- Five and six-year olds should be able to sort by different attributes: color, size, shape, etc.
- Able to count objects by giving one number to each item; able to count to at least 30;
- Should be able to identify written numbers and simple shapes
- Fine Arts
- Students should be able to participate in music by following the beat and understanding changes in music. They should have experience singing, and dancing while paying attention to their space.
- Kindergarteners should be able to engage in dramatic play and recite stories;
- Be able to create realistic drawings
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