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Parent Guide to Kindergarten: FAQs of Parents

Parent Guide to Kindergarten: FAQs of Parents

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Kindergarten marks a beautiful time in your child’s development and growth. It is their golden year! They learn essential school skills and life tools that will carry them throughout their academic career. It also sets the tone for learning and lays the core foundation for their education and social-emotional growth.

Kindergarten provides children with the practice of essential study through play and structured learning, social-emotional skills, gross motor, fine motor, and problem-solving skills usable throughout this school year and beyond. Kindergarten has many benefits and milestones to accomplish, leaving parents concerned if their children will effectively grow and develop these critical skills for the future.

There are five essential areas of school readiness: social and emotional development, approaches to learning; language and literacy; cognition and general knowledge; and physical development and health.

Top 25 Frequently Asked Questions, providing parents more insight into the primary years! Pre-K4, Pre-K5 and Kindergarten

At what age should my child join Kindergarten?

The kindergarten age requirements vary by State, with the most common age ranging between 5-7 years. However, the issue of age varies since different children have different school readiness. There are several things you should consider to determine your child’s kindergarten readiness:

Determining their development: Can your child communicate effectively? Can they listen and socialize with others effectively? Is your child toilet-trained? How are their gross motor skills?
 
Determine their developmental milestones by talking with their pediatrician:
Your pediatrician can review previous milestones and hear your concerns and your child’s current preschool teacher’s feedback. Seeking feedback and a partnership with your child’s caregiver or preschool teacher can provide necessary insight into their transition to Kindergarten. In addition, they can give objective observations about their readiness for schooling and help determine any skills that may need to be worked on to prepare for Kindergarten.

Importantly, trust your instincts because you know your child the best!

What is the meaning of “school readiness?”

School readiness determines if a child is ready to make a successful transition to school. Just like kids begin to talk and walk at different ages, they also develop social and psychological skills necessary for school at different ages.

What is the checklist for Kindergarten readiness?

1. Your child has a higher interest in learning
2. Your child  knows all the alphabet
3. They can recognize some letters
4. They successfully follow simple directions
5. Your child understands essential self-care, such as independent restroom use.
6. They can count up to 20
7. They recognize primary colors
8. They are developing fine motor skills. E.g., they can hold a canyon effectively.

NOTE: Some kids require more support for kindergarten readiness due to developmental support and adverse childhood experiences, among other things.

What do children learn in Kindergarten?

Kindergarten learning involves learning through structured play and engaging experiences. This learning style causes children to develop valuable social and communication skills for future learning. Your child also learns through discovery, active learning, and exploration.

Note: You are your child’s first teacher. You can play a significant role in helping them have a great start in their first year of learning.

Do children learn “how to read” in Kindergarten?

Yes! Your child begins to build their core reading abilities in Kindergarten.

At Kids on the Yard, we focus on the following core skills:

1. Phonics awareness
2. Identify sounds associated with letters
3. Recognize and name both uppercase and lowercase letters.
4. Build word recognition and sight vocabulary
5. Successful track words from left to the right of the page
6. Read one-syllable words.
7. CVC words

What will my child learn in Kindergarten Math?

Some of the math topics covered in Kindergarten include:
1. Counting the number of objects in a set
2. Start to match numerals with number words
3. Identify and describe various shapes, such as circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles.
4. Compare objects of different sizes, shapes, lengths, and heights.

What do Kindergarteners learn overall?

Kindergarten programs mostly incorporate math, reading, writing, social studies, science, and a lot of play to build the kid’s enthusiasm! Also, teachers help young learners develop self-esteem, security, and higher integrity and character.

Must my child understand all letters and numbers before joining Kindergarten?

There is no requirement by Common Core Standards that your child must know all letters and words before kindergarten enrollment. However, they should know their letters and numbers by the end of the Kindergarten year.

We can arrange a meeting with you and one of our educators if you are concerned about your child’s placement in Kindergarten.

Should my child know how to write their name before joining Kindergarten?

No, children are not expected to know how to write their names before joining Kindergarten. Kids typically begin to learn to write their name effectively in Kindergarten and master it very quickly at the beginning of first grade.

How can I help my Kindergartener to make friends at school?

You can help your child to make friends in the following ways:
1. Encourage them to engage in group conversations with their peers. You can focus on discussions that improve friendship and cooperation.
2. Encourage them to participate in games and activities that invite the participation of their peers.
3. Encourage family discussions to improve their socialization and communication skills.
4. Invite their friends over for outdoor activities.

How can I help my Kindergarten child be calmer and avoid distractions when learning?

Developmentally, kids within this age group are curious and physically active. As such, they move a lot as they try to explore the world around them. Therefore, teachers provide a lot of time for play and movement at the beginning of the kindergarten year. However, they also offer short, focused lessons to young learners. As a result, the children learn to sit and concentrate longer as the year progresses.

How can I help my Kindergarten child to build their social interaction skills?

Developing social skills is one of the primary foci for Kindergarten learners. Social interaction skills enable kids to work effectively with others. Our Kindergarten teachers plan specific lessons to help children develop social interaction skills and support them in making socialization decisions.

When should my child attend Kindergarten class?

Kindergarten schooling hours are similar to the rest of elementary learning hours. As such, your child should attend all the school days except when they are sick to avoid infecting their schoolmates. It is always good to communicate with the school’s office whenever your child is absent.

Can I homeschool my Kindergartener?

Absolutely! You can homeschool your child just like you would homeschool children of any other learning level or grade. However, Kindergarten homeschooling activities have less to do with comprehensive learning and more with natural learning progression through working gross and fine motor skills and play-based learning.

Kids on the Yard homeschool programs are custom-tailored to fit your family’s needs and the student’s specific learning style. Our educational team works closely with our families to help create a customized approach that is attainable, maintainable, and affordable structure that will last the whole school year ahead and beyond.  

Our State Certified Teachers, Educational Therapists, and/or Learning Specialists are incorporated by leading, managing, and developing the daily curriculum and learning. Each program is custom-tailored to your child’s and your family’s specific needs. 

What does homeschooling for a Kindergartener entail?

Many new homeschooling parents make mistakes by trying to recreate public or private school learning. Homeschooling a kindergartener involves a lot of play-based learning. A well-rounded kindergartener focuses more on hands-on learning incorporating colors, shapes, life skills, and alphabet and motor skills. It also involves a lot of play and fun-filled activities.

How can I help my Kindergartener learn at home?

English Learning
You can improve your child’s language arts and literacy skills by reading their favorite books together. First, read out loud and later discuss their thoughts. For example, you can ask them about their favorite part of the story and what they would change if given a chance.

Encourage them to talk about their day at school. You can keep paper, crayons, or markers around the house so they can use them to write words or draw pictures describing their day. You can also play games or sing songs that make silly English rhymes.

Mathematics Learning
You can help your Kindergartener learn math by looking for “word problems in real life. For example, you can ask them to count objects around the house up to 20. You can, for example, ask them to count the textbooks or crayons. You can also ask the kids questions that require them to compare numbers. For example, ask them who is taller than the other in the house or who among their siblings is wearing more bracelets.

At what age is school mandatory in the US?

When a child turns six, parents are legally compelled to enroll them in a full-time school. However, the decision of whether the child should be enrolled in Kindergarten or first grade rests with the parent and the school system. Parents typically enroll their children in Kindergarten when they are five years old.

What should a Kindergarten Learner know by the end of the school year?

Although requirements vary by State, the national guideline is, by the end of the Kindergarten year, children should be able to do the following:

Language and Reading:
They should be able to use expressive and receptive vocabulary, conversational skills, and communication effectively.

Reading, Phonics, and Writing:
At the end of Kindergarten, your child should demonstrate phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge and have improved reading and writing skills.

Logic & Reasoning:
Kindergarteners should understand symbols and their sequencing and should be able to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Early Math:
At the end of the school year, kindergarten kids should understand and know how to use numbers, sorting, patterns, and ordering. They should also have better knowledge of addition, subtraction, measuring, and graphing skills.

Why do children benefit from Kindergarten Prep Programs even if they are enrolled in Pre-K?

By setting the stage and preparing your Pre-K4 child for their Kinder year to come, parents give their children the gift of chiming into the wonders of school from day one!

Through Kids on the Yard’s One-on-One customized Individual Learning Plan, we work alongside their current school, develop core skills and prepare them for the Kindergarten school year!

Kindergartners love discovering the world around them and how it works. Their enthusiasm to learn how to read and understand math is an excellent start for necessary reading and math skills, from recognizing letters to identifying sounds to learning to read words and count and order numbers with understanding.

Today’s Kindergarten Is Yesterday’s First Grade
In many states, today’s Kindergarten is yesterday’s first grade. With more “academics” being presented in Kindergarten, children must learn the pre-academic foundations for formal reading before entering Kindergarten. In pre-k, children become familiar with books, new words, and ways to use language, numbers, and problem-solving strategies. They also learn the social skills they need to get the most out of school — how to pay attention in class and interact with peers.

Research 
Research demonstrates that a high-quality pre-k prep program increases a child’s chances of succeeding in school and life. For example, children who attend high-quality programs are less likely to be held back a grade, less likely to need special education, and more likely to graduate from high school. They also have higher earnings as adults and are less likely to become dependent on welfare or involved with law enforcement.

Preparation 
Nearly half of all kindergarten teachers report that their children have problems that hinder their success. For example, 46 percent of teachers feel that at least half of the children in their classes have difficulty following directions, 36 percent think that half have problems with academic skills, and 34 percent find that more than half have difficulty working independently.

Efficiency and Productivity 
Classrooms where all children are prepared to have higher learning productivity and classroom efficiency. More able children perform more capably in the classroom and enhance other children’s learning. Teachers spend more time working directly with children and less on classroom management.

What is a Kindergartner’s readiness for Social-Emotional Skills or Social and Emotional intelligence?

What social and emotional intelligence is needed for a Kindergartener? 

Kids on the Yard defines young children’s social and emotional well-being as the growing capacity to form close personal relationships with others, especially parents and caregivers, peers, and teachers. Able to express and manage emotions and explore new environments.

Research shows the vital link between social and emotional skills and school success as a more significant predictor of children’s academic performance. Why is this link so strong? Simply put, we know that learning is a social process. Children cannot learn when they struggle to follow directions, get along with their peers and control their emotions in a classroom setting. When children struggle with these skills, they are more likely to have social troubles at school, resorting to inappropriate expressions of frustration such as hitting, biting, and screaming.

Part of Kids on the Kinder Prep Programs instill these necessary skills for the future in each lesson.

What are the gross motor skills milestones for my Kindergarten?

Gross motor skill development enables a child to improve their balance and coordination and use their larger muscles. These skills will help them learn to run, climb, crawl, jump, throw, and perform many other actions and movements. Gross motor skills also play an important role in fine motor skill development.

Here’s a checklist: Gross motor skills: 5–6
1. Your child can run more smoothly, almost like an adult.
2. They can throw a ball with force and are better at catching it even if it isn’t thrown directly to them (i.e., they can move toward the ball).
3. They can throw a ball at the ground and catch it after one bounce.
4. They can balance on one foot for 5–10 seconds and easily hop on one foot over a short distance (3 m).
5. They can pedal a bicycle (usually with the help of training wheels).

Little by little, your child is beginning to do the following:
1. Play games like dodgeball or soccer that require coordinating several different movements, such as walking, running, throwing, catching, and kicking a ball.
2. Go on short bike rides (using training wheels).
3. Easily climb a play structure at the playground.
4. Walk on a narrow ledge (10 cm) while keeping their balance.
5. Catch a ball with one hand.

How can you help your child progress?
 
You can help your child develop their gross motor skills with these simple everyday actions:
1. When you take your little ones to the playground,
They improve their coordination and balance through play.

2. When you play ball with your child (or when they play ball with friends),
They develop their strength and agility by catching, throwing, and kicking the ball. They also learn the rules of different games.

3. When you go for bike rides together,
Your child gradually learns to keep their balance and propel their bike forward.

4. When you and your child take the stairs instead of the elevator,
Your little one’s strength and endurance improve, and their heart and lungs strengthen.

5. When you let your child move around freely, whether they’re indoors or outside,
They learn how to expend their energy healthily.

6. When you let your child walk along the cement ledges at the park or on sidewalks,
They improve their coordination and develop an interest in walking and physically active.

7. When you play different sports together,
Your child can explore various activities and determine which ones they like best.

*Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. Also, remember your child is unique and develops at their own pace.

They have strengths and areas of growth and are becoming increasingly self-aware.

What are the fine motor skills milestones for my Kindergarten?

“Fine motor” refers to the movements we make with the small muscles of the hands. Children start using their hands right at birth to explore their bodies and the world around them. Their fine motor skills develop as their whole body moves and become more stable. They also learn to do more things with their hands as their cognitive and social/emotional skills improve.  

Below are some of the typical developmental milestones for fine motor skills. 
Between the ages of 4-5 years, your child will:

Start to use one hand consistently for fine motor tasks
Cut along a straight line with scissors
Start to cut along a curved line, like a circle
Draw a cross by herself (+)
Copy a square
Begin to draw diagonal lines, like in a triangle
Start to color inside the lines of a picture
Start to draw recognizable pictures
Build things with smaller linking blocks, such as Duplo or Lego
Put on their own clothing but may still need help with fasteners like buttons/zippers
Start to spread butter or cut soft foods with a small table knife (with supervision)
Start to learn to print some capital letters

Red Flags for Fine Motor Development (5 years)
If you notice some of the following things about your child by the time they are five years old, you may want to talk to your doctor or another health professional such as an occupational therapist.

Their movements seem shaky or stiff.
Their arms and hands seem very weak
They are not able to cut along a straight line
They are not holding her crayons or pencils with her thumb and fingers
They are not able to draw a circle, square, or cross (+)
They are not able to put on their own shirts, pants, socks, and shoes (with some help with fasteners)
He is not able to feed himself well with a spoon and fork

How should I prepare my child for Kindergarten?

Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for Kindergarten:

Start by developing independence at home. That way, it is not a shock once they begin school. Encourage your child to dress themself, take their coat on and off and hang it up, use the bathroom without assistance, wash their hands without constant reminders, and put on their shoes. Provide serving spoons so your child can serve themself at the table and clear their dishes. These skills will take them from the coatroom to the lunchroom and beyond.

Focus on self-help skills. Your child should know how to wipe their face after lunch without prompting and blow their noses without assistance. But be sure they are also comfortable asking an adult for help when necessary.

Teach responsibility. Start transferring minor duties over to your child if you haven’t already. For example, after a family trip to the pool, you might put your child in charge of emptying the backpack, refilling the water bottles, or hanging up their wet swimsuit. Let them accept the responsibility even when it may be easier for you to complete these tasks.

Develop and follow routines. Set up morning routines that will transfer into a school setting. Getting up around the same time every day, getting dressed, and having an early breakfast together are great ways to transition to school.

Read aloud to your child. Get your child a library card, take them to the library to check out books, and be sure to read to your child daily. Read various books, read the captions under pictures in the newspaper, and even share comics. Just read!

Engage them in meaningful literacy activities. For example, encourage your child to help you with thank you cards, shopping lists, or notes. They may start with scribbles or pictures, move into scattered letters, and finally, some recognizable words as they enter school. Appreciate their attempts and watch their skills develop with practice.

Acknowledge their feelings. Avoid talking about school too much, or wait until the end of summer is near. Your child may express nervousness, not wanting to go, or feeling very excited to start school. Whatever they think, take time to appreciate where they are.

What if my child is not ready for Kindergarten?

Most children start Kindergarten at age 5. However, if your child’s birthday falls in late spring or summer and they will have just turned five at the beginning of the school year, or if you feel your child would benefit from another year of preschool, you might consider waiting until the next academic year.

Consider your child’s academic skills but also their temperament. Remember that if your child is on the older or younger end of the class, this impacts not only Kindergarten but also middle school, high school, driving, and going to college. On the other hand, if they are the youngest in their class, they will be then, too!

When in doubt
1. Discuss your concerns with your child’s preschool teacher.
2. Discuss your concerns with the future principal and kindergarten teacher
3. Tour the school and observe a kindergarten classroom
4. Trust your instincts! You know your child best. Listen to others, think about your child, and then go with your gut

What are the reading levels from the start to the end of Kindergarten?

In Kindergarten, many children begin at guided reading Level A and work up to Level D.

Books at these levels feature plenty of pictures for support, repetitive sentences and words, limited text, and large font.

If your child is not ready for independent reading, still fit in plenty of family read-aloud time.

Parent Guide to Kindergarten: FAQs of Parents

Parting Shot:

We can all agree that Kindergarten is a vital foundation for every child. That is why we work closely with parents and teachers to decide what is best for their kids.

We are determined to strengthen your child’s Kindergarten skills and set them up for First Grade. We make this possible through excellent skill-building sessions where they grow and learn math, reading, and play-based learning skills. All these activities enhance their curiosity for a deeper understanding of their world.

Learn more about our Pre-K and Kindergarten program

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