Tips for Parents and Caregivers
Learning to read begins long before the first day of Kindergarten. Each student will develop language skills starting as an infant. Building literacy skills will help students with the increased expectations of reading and writing that come with CORE curriculum.
When students are prepared with basic literacy, the focus of their instruction is different and they will progress at a more rapid pace. Reading is a key in all subjects and is critical to learning for a lifetime.
Public libraries are a great place to get started with ideas, classes and materials to help parents be the first and most important teacher their child will learn from as they develop.
Medical and Dental Needs
Before your child starts school, parents can schedule appointments for medical visits to make sure there are no issues that will keep them from doing their best. This can be at a well check visit and often times your pediatrician will bring this up as part of their conversation during an exam. If they don't, take time to describe any issues that you see related to vision, hearing or developmental milestones.
Getting enough and regular sleep is also an important part of setting the tone for success. Many times when students act out and have a timeout, they will fall asleep. They were tired and just didn't know how to express it. More than 8 hours of recommended sleep is needed for most youngsters to feel rested.
Ask you child to stomp the floor or kick a ball. Most times they will use their dominant foot to complete these tasks. For hands, have them color, cut or drink and see what they choose. Finally, holding their hands out, close one eye and which eye still sees the finger when it lines up, that will be his/her dominant eye.
5 ways to build literacy
1. Talking- they listen, acquire and respond
2. Singing- sounds, syllables, rhymes and patterns
3. Reading- ask questions, builds vocabulary, creates sequence
4. Writing- scribble 1st, draw and explain, form letters and words
5. Playing- puppets, dress up, characters- explore their imagination
These are activities that can and should be continued as students start school.
The conversations about their interests and learning should be a daily discussion once students attend school. Students need to verbalize and write their experiences to become more fluent in the skills at a conceptual level.
Encourage them to draw pictures and write stories.
Write letters or emails to family members.
Talk about the day.
Keep a journal or blog.
Science and Math
Not everything needs to be focused on reading and literacy. Young learners both preschool and school age can participate in many activities at home that helps them build an understanding of math concepts and scientific principles.
STEM is an acronym for students learning about science, technology, engineering and math. STEM leads to many great careers and it is one that builds off of a child's natural curiosity. For young children we use these letters from STEM to represent see, talk, explore and motivate. As students notice things, they start to build skills that will help them in science. As they learn to explain what they see or why they think something works, they are developing skills in communication. As they explore they will build interests and become motivated to learn. It is important that girls experience this kind of exploration as well to help them form healthy roles and views of science and math.
Discuss and share what you know. Count items like silverware, french fries and money. Look for patterns and let them sort things. This can be tiles, colors, weather, or simple shapes.
Build with wood blocks and Legos. Making these and knocking them down is less about making a mess as testing a design concept.
Cooking teaches measurement and fractions. While these may seem advanced for young children, they will start to understand parts combined to a whole in terms that make sense to them.
Playing board and strategy games. These teach problem solving and coping skills. There is a wealth of social skills that can be taught in the context of the rules of the game as well.
Soaring for success