This post is presented by MyIR, the FREE and secure way for Washington State families to store immunization records (and always have them ready for anything-like registering for school)!
We know there are lots of posts around the internet about preparing your child for kindergarten, but we thought for our South Sound and Tacoma area families, we’d go straight to some South Sound experts, and find out what your kiddos really need to know! If you’ve got a first timer, or one you’re on the fence about, I think you’ll enjoy this mini series we put together with the help of some of this area’s experts
Note-We first ran this post back in 2014, so the titles of some of the experts quoted may have changed, but we still think all the info. is super helpful! I hope you do, too!
Cindy Johnson is an Early Learning Specialist in the Franklin Pierce School District. Laurie Sjolund is the Early Learning Coordinator in the Sumner School District. They were both very generous with their time, and gave me lots of great tips to share with you.
Look For Classses: First, if you’re the parent of a 4 or 5 year old who has not yet started kindergarten, be on the lookout for information about Ready! for Kindergarten classes. Most every district offers some kind of kindergarten registration event, but Ready! for Kindergarten (look for the exclamation point) is a special program. If you participate in the class you’ll learn fun ways to work on early learning skills with your kiddos (flashcards not required), and you’ll walk away with free toys and educational materials you get to keep. Score!
I’ve heard from several readers that these are excellent. If you want to check for one in your district, you can head here to the Ready! for Kindergarten site , and plug your zip code into the box towards the bottom. If you see a link for your district, but it leads to something with really old dates, I would call. It probably means they offer the program, but they haven’t updated the site.
Play And Read Daily: If you aren’t able to take one of these classes, you can still make sure your preschooler is ready to learn. Both Sjolund and Johnson talked about how important it is for parents to be their children’s first teachers from birth on, by doing simple things like nightly story reading and block play.
Emphasize Social Skills: You’ll also want to think about social skills. While I know I spent a lot of time fretting about letters and numbers, both educators told me kindergarten teachers say that kiddos who enter with the ability to follow a routine, listen to directions, and use their words to solve problems, will quickly grasp new ideas. If you haven’t done a structured preschool program, summer would be a good time to do some lessons, or try a VBS or a short day camp-something where he will get those social opportunities.
What She Should Know: Want some more specifics? The Ready! for Kindergarten program has a list of learning targets for each age. Johnson also shared a few specific suggestions with me. I’m guessing most of you will find that your preschoolers have already mastered these. Yours is probably going to be just fine if she
- Knows her colors
- Knows the names of the letters in the alphabet and maybe half the sounds (try starting with the sounds in her name).
- Can hear beginning and ending sounds on words (Rhyming is an excellent skill to practice).
- Enjoys being read to
- Can count to 20 and in quantities to 10.
- Can recognize her name
- Can concentrate on tasks
- Can sort objects into groups
- Can use comparing words
For specific questions about programs available to your family, it’s best to contact your local district. I’d also love to hear about your experiences, so don’t be shy about leaving a comment.
If you have a young 5 year old, you might be thinking about having him wait a year. I know we just agonized over this decision. You can read this post on how to decide whether to keep yours back a year. In it I share out personal story and some more good advice I think you’ll find really helpful.
This year’s kindergarten readiness series is sponsored by MyIR. Have you checked it out yet? You’ll definitely need your child’s immunization records to register for kindergarten and MyIR can help. It’s a new site just for Washington State families where you can record your whole family’s shot records and access them whenever you need! It’s safe, it’s secure, and guys…..it’s FREE! I do hope you’ll give it a look!