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News in Youth Services

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ready for Kindergarten: At-Home Info

Hello there! I've been reading quite a bit about the origins of kindergarten and how kindergarten has evolved since it first came to America in the 1870s. As a Youth Services Librarian, part of my job is to make sure that kids start school ready to learn. One way that I do that is to incorporate kindergarten readiness skills into the storytimes that I provide. But let's be honest, I only see each child for 30 minutes a week and that isn't nearly enough time to cover all the skills they will need to have mastered before they go to school.  That's where you come in! In just 10 minutes a day, you can help prepare your child! Over the next few months, this series will cover all the skills on the Getting Ready for Kindergarten Checklist. The categories will include: personal information, academic skills, language, math, social skills, and physical skills.

Kindergarten classroom, Canada, 1898.

Our topic for today is Personal Information. These are the things your child is expected to know prior to starting kindergarten.
  • Recognize first and last name
  • Write first name with first letter capitalized
  • Tell you their age
  • Tell you their phone number
  • Tell you their address
  • Know family members and names
  • Know body parts

That seems like a long list, but I'm willing to bet that your smarty already knows some of this information.

Phone numbers and addresses can be hard to remember so I find it helps to set them to music. For example, I will use the library's phone and address.

To the tune of Bingo/There was a farmer, had a dog.

When I call home, I use the phone!

6-3-0 (drag out that number: ze-ee-roh!)

and that's how I call home-o!

My home it has an address too!
This is where you'll find it:

40 South Park Street,
40 South Park Street,
40 South Park Street

Roselle, Illinois!

If you don't like that tune, you can choose another. Just sing your song once a day for a week, and your kiddo will have those numbers in their heads forever. Do remind your kids never to share this info without asking you first!

Names are important! While you may be the only Mom/Dad/Mama/Papa in your child's life there is a good chance that you aren't the only parent in a crowded room. Knowing the first names of parents can save time in an emergency! To teach first names, you can make a game out of it. Come up with words (or sounds) that rhyme with the first names of everyone in your family. Then the next time you sit down to eat a meal together, use the name-rhymes to talk to each other.

When teachers want your children to know the names of body parts it is so that everyone in the classroom can communicate clearly with each other. You can call heads "melons" and toes "piggies" at home. But in school, toes need to be toes! Imagine trying to understand an injured child who tells you that their cauliflower got hurt on the playground. Do they mean their head? Or their ears? Or their knees? Knowing the names of body parts makes everyone safer.

Next time we will start on Academic Skills! That list is a little bit longer, but I know that we can conquer it together.

If you want to read a comprehensive document, the American Federation of Teachers has put together a 34 page document you can read here.

Additionally, the Illinois State Board of Education has a website for the Illinois Early Learning Project. This website offers tip sheets in English, Spanish and even a few in Polish!

Until next time, friends! 

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