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What should a pre-schooler need to know prior to starting kindergarten?

My wife and I recently put our daughter into a daycare/preschool that we thought had a great deal of emphasis on learning. Well we are finding out there is a lot of socialization and different "centers" that she work at, but she can't recognize but 7 letters and can count to 20 but can only recognize numbers up to 10. My wife and I who are very busy with our business took inventory of this the other day and were shocked. We totally and fully blame ourselves for not working on this more with her and not checking with the school regularly about her progress. However, we now have about 8 months before she starts kindergarten and we need to understand what is the standard for kindergarten children and what things to concentrate on before August. She is very smart and will catch on quick. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks to all that answer.

19 Answers

  • kennyj
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I actually see two separate issues here, marconi77. I think you need to recognize that your child needs basic skills and needs to develop some important attitudes as well. For me as a teacher learning is about skills and attitudes.

    Skills - I suggest your daughter will benefit greatly from knowing the alphabet and a word or two that begins with each letter. Knowing the primary colours and several secondary colours will help, as well as basic shapes. Counting as high as she is able to go is good. Holding a writing tool correctly, using scissors and glue is important. Hopefully she recognizes her own name in print and can write it herself. Being able to sit quietly while having a story read or quietly looking at a book herself can never be over valued. These skills prepare her better for what's to come. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

    Attitudes - try your best to foster a positive attitude about school, her class mates and her teacher. Try to instill the idea that school is an important place to go and that she really needs to do her best, no matter how difficult something may seem. Also remember, her best should be your expectation as well. If she doesn't do something well and you expected better, don't overdo the concern and stress out the little princess. Also, show that you care by asking specific questions about school. "What did you learn in Math today?" "Let's see some of your art work" or "What stories did you read today?" Try your best to not reduce it to "How was school?" Make your questions interesting so that she will want to tell you. Your comment on "socialization" shows that you have some concerns. Please don't Learning to get along in work and in play will be one of the most important things that your children will acquire at school.

    Please, please, please do not be a hyper achieving parent who fosters the fears and phobias that many little ones develop. Do your part at home but that does not mean an hour of homework each night . . . she's only in preschool. Don't make everything a lesson. From your basic review of her skills at this point in her very short life I think she is well within expectations.

    Your position right now is as important as the teacher's. Try to remember, though, the teacher is the expert in the educational field. Trust her or him. Get to know her or him. Your relationship with the teacher will silently speak volumes to your daughter.

    How did Einstein become so smart when he didn't have any Einstein CD to play?

    Source(s): Personal experience - 48 years of life, completed grades 1 - 12, two university degrees, father of three, grandfather to one, uncle to 24. Teacher (Grades 4 to 11) in the Canadian public system for 12 years. Too many jobs to mention before that.
  • 1 decade ago

    Phone the school where she will be in Kindergarten and ask the teacher. It varies by geographic communities, public & private schools.

    Teachers have tests and check lists for this exact kind of thing, used to evaluate a child's progress during the year.

    Remember to teach the letters in LOWER case- it's sad when a child begins Kindergarten and has to re-learn the alphabet because the upper case is what they have been taught.

    Also, studies show that while pre-school students have some advantage over non pre-schoolers at the begining of the year, by December, they are all at the same level anyway.I have noticed this in the kindergarten classroom myself.

    Don't stress too much, exposure to letters is half of it, as in that game your other answer reccomended, again, just be sure you are teaching the lower case letters..

    btw, most children do not physically have the capability to easily begin learning to write until Kindergarten age. You cannot force the developement of fine motor (small muscles) required for this task, so do not make an issue of it- it's like reading readiness-it WILL come with time, at the right time in their developement. This is why painting easels are a prominent part of the pre-school classroom-not just for artistic expression, but for the developement of age-appropriate motor skills which are precursors to later developement of fine motor skills

    .If you want, invest in a simple easel and tempera paints. Each day pencil a lower case letter on a giant sheet of paper, and give them a sticker for painting right on it or tracing over it with watercolor markers. Ask the local kindergarten teacher for the instructional example sheet that shows the way to teach the strokes & their proper order when writing a letter. There are directional arrows numbered 1, 2...

    You can give a sticker, begin a display of these letters masking taped at child level to the bedroom wall, and even go together to an educational store and buy a set like the teacher uses in the classroom.

    The best thing you can do overalll is to ensure a solid nutritional base for energy and brain developement, including early bed, aprox. 8-10 hours sleep and often naps, time to play and plenty of attention from Mom and Dad. There is no substitute for these things, yet they are so simple that they are sadly and frequently forgotten.

    Do these things and ease your mind.

    Happy New Year to all of you!

    Source(s): teacher, infants to middle schoolers
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I don't believe preschool children should get homework. Some children attend preschool and some don't, some children and prepared for Kindergarten and some aren't. Just because a child attends preschool doesn't mean they won't be prepared for Kindergarten. Homework is only supposed to be used to reinforce what they are learning in school. At the preschool level, the concepts that are being taught (colors, numbers, letters) are not taught in a day. To beat these children over the head daily with the same homework would be overkill. I feel that the classroom learning and the reinforcement by parents at home is sufficient enough.

  • 1 decade ago

    As someone who has worked closely with kindergarten teachers I'll tell you what they want are children who are socially and emotionally mature. Children who can wait their turn, share, control emotions without aggression, resolve conflicts and can be guided (aka handle discipline). That's why such the emphasis on socialization in the prek years. If she has that then you are on the right path. Other things you can help her with are recognizing her name, holding a pencil properly and/or holding scissors properly. You can work with her on number and letter recognition but keep it fun and don't stress. They will work with her in Kindergarten and if she's bright it'll be a snap. Your best bet would probably be to approach your local school system and arrange a brief chat with the kindergarten teacher, curriculum director or principal and ask them what they recommend. I work with child care providers and actually advise them against venturing into the school age world unless they have college degrees. I'm not being snotty but what I've seen happen is a child who "knows" how to write all their letters and gets to school only to have a teacher tell them they are doing it wrong (using the wrong writing style) the same with reading (they were taught phonics and the school system uses site words). Imagine the poor kids confidence being shattered.

    Source(s): Masters Degree in Education
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  • 1 decade ago

    I am a state certified teacher. More importantly I am a parent of a 4 year old daughter and a 5 year old son. My son began Pre-K, which is offered in our district's public schools, knowing only 3 letters. By the time he started K (this year) he knew them all. My daughter (who is a tough cookie) I thought needed to be tested because she would get frustrated after one flashcard and would not remember things from one day to the next. However, during the test we had to stop because she scored into the 5 year old range. Saying that: when people read and speak and interact with a child, the child learns. There is no great formula or amazing study. Children are social creatures. Don't be alarmed by the centers in the daycare. They are learning. And your daughter may know more than she is letting on. My mouth hit the floor when my daughter grouped objects by size, shape, color, and number for a total stranger, but wouldn't name colors for me. Notice I said wouldn't instead of couldn't. Read to your child as often as possible. Let her "read" to you by describing what is in the pictures. Ask questions during movies or cartoons. Learning should be fun and stress free for parent and child. When it becomes stressful for either party, then it is time to stop. For example, at 8pm all school work is stopped finished or not. No child should work until they pass out.

    Tips: 1.Teach letters and numbers in random order.

    2. Leapfrog is the GREATEST

    3. Teach letter sounds A apple (a)

    4. Use pennies to show 1, 2, 3, etc

    5. Start with the letters in her name.

    6. Buy sidewalk chalk to start writing.

  • 1 decade ago

    She needs to know her colors and shapes;it is helpful if she knows her letters and how to print her name. make sure she knows the proper way to hold a pencil --most kids start out holding a crayon or pencil in their fist instead of the way they teach in school.

    Sit down and read to her daily.

    She should also know her full name, address and phone number.

    Since she is going to preschool, she has already learned the first thing --to be able to separate from her parents. Some kids are not able to do this in kindergarten because they have never been away from family.

    Anything that she does not have a good grasp of at the start of school, she will pick up quickly. The teachers are very good at finding creative ways of teaching the basics

    Source(s): mother of 4, grandmother of 6
  • 1 decade ago

    I was a preschool/Kindergarten teacher for seven years and I feel that children should be able to do the following...but please understand that all children progress and have different learning styles. You have to know your child and do what's best for them and cater to their learning styles.

    -ABC's (recognizing them and know the sounds) dont just stop at teaching them the ABC song-children retain more and are smarter than we think

    -how to write name(first and last)

    -socialization is very important--this is an outlet for children to express creativity and how to relate with other children and adults

    -colors, shapes(some schools are teaching geometric shapes)

    -recognizing and understanding number sense--recognizing the #3 and knows how to count to 3 and recognizing groups of 3--this was an example

    *****I often tell my parents to check their school system's Standard Course of Study--in North Carolina this is an outline of the objectives that the students will be learning and what they are respsonible for knowing. Most often, you can find this information on your school systems website. You can also talk to the principal or teacher at your childs prospective school to get more insight. Its hard to pin point specific skills because it depends on the state, county and school your daughter will be attending. I hope this has helped you out.

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm a preschool teacher who transitions kids into kindergarten all the time. I think that kids in preschool should learn to sit at circle without hitting each other, should learn how to resolve conflicts (at the appropriate age level of course), how to be friendly and get along. Nearly ALL kids will learn their ABC's and 123's. The focus on academics at such a young age, has, in my opinion, been to the detriment of social/emotional development. Bullying and school violence are real concerns and unless we teach our kids young the foundations of cooperation and respect, they may become smart academically, but not socially. Here in Oregon, kids are expected to know all their ABC's by the END of kindergarten. Same with recognizing numbers up to the END of kindergarten. IMO, the 'socialization' aspect of her preschool is a huge strength and should not be looked on as a problem. Your daughter will learn her academics and she has PLENTY of time to do so.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As a student who tutors smaller kids, I think your child is on-par with what you say she knows. Kindergarten is a starting place - many children don't go to preschool! It seems that she shouldn't have a problem! What I would do before August would be to buy her a leapfrog from ToysRUs; my sister got one a few years ago (she was 4) and, even with a speech impediment, greatly improved her awareness of letters. Also, see if she can spell her name.

    Hope I helped!

  • 1 decade ago

    My 2 & 3yr olds are in the hippi program. That is a home based study, I'm the teacher, for my children. According to the material they give me, it sounds like your child is over the standard in some areas. Recognition of letters and numbers isn't as crucial as you think, that is what they teach them in kindergarten. They need to know their address, phone# spell their name, and write it. Be able to count to 10 and say their abc's. I think people put too much on children before school. Kind of like "who has the smarter kid" The placement test is not determining entry of school, just placement in level. Relax and let her have some fun. I do the hippi because, yes, I want them to have a working basic concept, but mostly just because it is fun for us.

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