EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for February 2010

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Late winter – early spring is typical kindergarten screening time for school districts. Your home district will determine timing with notification on their website or in community publications. Preschool settings often have this information as well. Your child must be age eligible for kindergarten (In New York state a child must be 5 years old on or before December 1, 2010 or December 31, 2010: check your home school district requirement).

EACH CHILD IS UNIQUE and young children are just that – young! Preschoolers are not in kindergarten. They are light-years away from being grown up. They are also 6 months away from September Kindergarten entrance!

The following skills and developmental abilities are widely held as appropriate expectations for children entering formal kindergarten classrooms. Remember – your child is continuing to learn these skills through positive experiences and enjoyable interactions as well as through structured curriculum.

Developing as well as secure ability in the following are recommended for kindergarten entrance:

Numbers:

  • Recognizes numerals 1 – 10
  • Verbally counts 1 – 10
  • Chooses as many objects that match numbers
  • Counts a collection
  • Can identify first and last
  • Can match, organize in categories, sort and describe objects.
  • Recognizes simple shapes
  • Understands basic graphing and can participate in simple adding and subtracting
  • Grasps basic problem solving skills
  • Begins to understand and create “cause and effect” ( if I water the seed and place it in the sun, it will grow into a plant.)

Words:

  • Recognizes and names upper (A) and lower (a) case letters
  • Identifies letters in their own name
  • Identifies basic colors
  • Identifies spoken words that rhyme
  • Can produce spoken rhyming word
  • Taps words in a sentence, syllables in a word
  • Tracks print (text) left to right, top to bottom, first to last page
  • Is interested in stories, retells stories, makes story predictions, answers questions about a story
  • Chooses and enjoys books
  • Enjoys illustrations and illustrates favorite story
  • Can tell story through pictures
  • Can print formal first and last name legibly
  • Holds writing tools (pencil, crayon) and scissors appropriately

Interaction:

  • Interacts well with others
  • Respects self, adults, peers and personal as well as shared space
  • Helps with clean up
  • Uses good observation
  • Reacts to situations appropriately (is excited as well as calm)
  • Listens attentively
  • Understands and complies with safety rules
  • Takes turns in a conversation – stays on topic
  • Takes care of own needs, uses bathroom with minimal help, eats with utensils
  • Follows simple directions and handles materials appropriately
  • Draws a self portrait with beginning details (eyes, hair, ears, fingers..)
  • Knows address, phone number, birthday and parents’ names.
  • Walks steadily
  • Speaks clearly enough to be understood
  • Throws, kicks and catches a ball
  • Walks up and down stairs
  • Runs, hops and pedals
  • Enjoys others
  • Is beginning to have friends and to be a friend.

Celebrate your child each day! Perfecting their beginning abilities, solid skills and efforts is a challenge! They will spend many years in formal school settings. Don’t rush them.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

My dear friend has a plaque in her office which states that stressed spelled backwards is desserts. She is an accomplished professional and mother of 4 including a teenager and infant. She lives by the words on her plaque!

Let’s see…

Desserts are typically a sweet treat after a full, nutritious meal. They can also be an extension of that nutritious meal – a dessert of berries and yogurt.

Desserts are an option. Take them or leave them.

Desserts are fattening and considered unhealthy, especially when eating too much or too often. We have to keep track.

Desserts often require a lot of attention, time and effort. Sometimes they are worth the trouble, sometimes they are not.

So…

Being stressed is an extension of many good, healthy events? Well, have you ever relived a day, recalled a memory or replicated a moment that has not lived up to expectations only causing you to be discouraged or worried? Rather than be stressed, create a new day, memory, or moment with family and friends.

Being stressed is often an option. Choose the “no” side.  It is better for you and for your family.

Adding too much stress or being unaware of continued stress in your life is unhealthy. Health experts (AMA, CDC) offer continuous information to all of us on recognizing stress, avoiding stress and managing the stress that is a part of life.  Look it up and pay attention.

Stressful situations can bring out the best and the worst in each of us. Creatively solving problems with strength you didn’t know you had is remarkable. Inner knowledge and strong commitment can come through in times of stress. Learn from this.

Your children learn about life and about handling life from you all the time. Stress is a fact of life. What are you teaching your children about this? They will think what you think and be who you are.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

I am going to write a book one day and the title will be “Little Boys Take up Space!” because that is exactly what they do – take up space! Watch them – they roll and push and bounce from their youngest infant stage! As toddlers, little guys are the climbers, runners, ball throwers and stretchers! Preschool little boys have figured out that the more they “spread out” the more control they have over their environment and that means fun! So trucks now have block towers built just to bulldoze over and the airplanes and helicopters take flight all through classrooms and playrooms!

This column is specific to little boys (although I certainly expect many families to “see” their little girls in the information and activities)!

Brain research, developmental experts (L. Griffin) as well as classroom and life experience point to the fact that little boys are busy – they use their bodies as often and as much as they can. Language soon catches up but while that is happening, bodies and muscles are growing, thinking skills are refining and social structures point boys into very active motion and activities. Our society expects and encourages boys from their very youngest age to be active and tough – whether right or wrong, there is an accepted truth to the adage: Boys will be Boys.

As parents it is critical to give little boys the space they need to grow, play and learn. They will use body power and developing control skills to gain the most from environments and relationships. Let’s join them in this wonderful journey by providing them safe places to move and explore and activities that encourage and support body strength and processes.

  • Run, jump, climb and move in indoor and outdoor environments that are safe and well equipped with slides, climbers, swings, balls, hula-hoops, pushing and riding vehicles, kites, flyers, blocks & bouncers.
  • Time is as important as space! Take time with little guys to dig, scoop, exercise and build. Use appropriate tools and toys in sand, gravel and ground – engage bodies and brains.
  • Relax and have fun! Little boys will use their bodies and take up space in as many ways as possible. We can “fight” with them over this or acknowledge, support and enjoy these wonderful little ones as they use everything they’ve got to learn everything they can!

Research also shows that little boys can lag in small muscle skill development (Ready to Read) which can impact their beginning reading and writing skills. While using big muscles be sure that printing, coloring, lacing and puzzles are part of the fun!

-Kate dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

“There’s nothing quite as strong as the relationships of siblings. There’s nothing quite as fragile as the relationships of siblings.” -M. Marone

Family dynamics are really something! They range from calm, cool and collected to drama, drama, drama. When there are two or more children in a family, it is amazing how relationships are built and bonds are established. Parents and extended family clearly play the major role in establishing sibling relationships, right from the beginning.

We can encourage Sibling Power with dedicated understanding that each child is an individual with their very own unique personalities, talents and abilities.

Set limits and boundaries. Young children try many different ways to establish ownership and territory. While we always want our children to cooperate and play with each other, it is important to remember that not everything and every place belongs to everyone. Favorite toys and games can “belong” to one child with invitations for others to join. A personal “lovie” is just that – personal. Say “no” to older siblings purposely taking things away from younger ones and help older siblings keep their things safe from little ones by establishing specific spaces for special toys and personal items. Most family spaces and places are for everyone but children will feel empowered with respected ownership in some and this will create harmony in the others.

Respect development. Encourage each age older to be a helper to each age younger. If infants enter a family, even a young toddler should be actively engaged in their care and comfort supported holding for bottles and rest for babies, talking, singing to and sitting with each day. Preschoolers can make pictures and decorations for babies; talk to them, get diapers, pick out their clothes and sing them to sleep. School agers can hold and feed babies under supervision, get spaces ready, make lists, push the stroller and read special books. No matter what the ages, each brother or sister can find ways to be part of each aspect of the other’s life.

Create visible and clear connections. Family pictures, projects and art proudly displayed, fun games and activities that everyone joins in, simple invitations to “go with” for errands, visits & appointments, lots of talking to and about each one to the other(s) in positive and supportive language. High, clear praise for each child and visible, clear pride for all is so important in avoiding sibling rivalries.

Set an example of sibling power. As adults, we understand there are many relationships that have developed over the years for many reasons. Children don’t understand this. They are working on building connections from the ground up. Set a positive model in a respectful way.

I look at very young children holding hands with their brothers and sisters. I hear little voices singing sweet lullabies to their new babies. I smile at scuffles getting into car seats followed by the sharing of pretzel snacks.

This is – Sibling Power!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

We understand that learning to say and recognize numbers is a basic necessity to success. Even the youngest children come to understand basic concepts of counting, ordering, sequencing and correspondence. We teach our children about numbers in so many ways we don’t even realize. Children are learning constantly! They listen, watch and respond to you each day a million different ways.

You teach about numbers when…

  • You count “piggies” changing a baby’s diapers.
  • You have a toddler find 2 shoes for 2 feet then tie them up 1 at a time with you.
  • You serve pancakes to your preschooler who is delighted to ask for 4 pancakes because that is how old he is and that matches.
  • Your school ager sorts clothes for the day, follows a sequence to dress, checks the wall calendar in her room and reads the month, day and year with understanding of order.
  • You talk through providing a bowl, a cup and a spoon for each breakfast eater – ask older children to list who will eat and then tell you how many of each is needed for the table.
  • You color, write, play with, sing about, glue, cut, trace, read about, manipulate and organize numbers.
  • You talk about and show children coupons for groceries and take them shopping where numbers are literally everywhere.
  • You collect and count pennies with kids.
  • You recall in a game at the end of the day “what we did first, then second, then next….”

Never miss an opportunity to help children organize, categorize, print, label, read, talk about and print number symbols (4) and number words (four). Be a good model and recognize when you teach about numbers in your daily routines. Teaching your child is so important, but loving your children always comes first!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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