Written By Cynthia Adshade
For the past few years, I have walked into a typical kindergarten classroom and have been amazed at what kids have to know and be able to do by the time they enter grade one. One common example of this is a student needs to be able to write 5-8 sentences by the end of kindergarten. When we look at what that entails – being able to write 5-8 sentences – it means that a child must be able to have the necessary skills to perform that task.
Here are a few examples of what skills a children need to write five to eight sentences:
- Fine motor skills
- Letter recognition
- Letter sounds
- Letter memory
- Correct letter formation
- Core strength
- Finger/Hand strength
- Initiation of task
- Functional grasp
- Visual perceptual skills
- Visual motor skills
- Tripod grasp
- And the list goes on….
In many instances, kindergarten is the first formal educational experience that a child has had. Parents often are not aware of the requirements for kindergarten and send their child to school thinking “they will learn everything they need to learn at school”. Yes, parents may be right in thinking this way, however there are some problems with this train of thought. Let me explain.
What I’m finding now is that kids often don’t have the necessary readiness skills to be successful at school. What does that mean?
“Readiness skills are the building blocks for learning. They are the foundational skills from which to grow and are needed for living.
They encompass different areas of life.”
That means that in order to be successful at something, an individual has to have the basics from which to build upon or “grow from”. Think of it this way: when a building is being constructed, concrete or other building materials are poured or laid down on an even or prepared surface. Once that surface has a level base, other components such as walls, doors, windows etc are then added to it. Additional floors are placed upon this surface. This process continues of building on top of the previous level until no more floors are going to be added and the roof is then placed at the top. Once the exterior of the building is complete, that’s when the more fine details such as flooring, painting, electrical, plumbing etc are incorporated.
If you didn’t have the prepared base from which to add the walls, the walls would then crumble.
If you didn’t have the walls, doors, windows from which to add additional floors on top, then the floors would then crumble.
If you didn’t have all of the floors complete and the roof on top, the building would not be structurally sound then it would crumble.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
When children enter school, a basic set of skills is needed for success. Now barring cognitive, physical, and emotional difficulties and other such diagnoses or challenges, a typically developing child should find success at school…with the basic set of skills (readiness skills) needed to perform this.
Now going back to the statement of “they will learn everything they need to learn at school”, yes a child will learn the academic information needed to be successful, however the basic skills – the prepared base of the structure – needs to be securely in place before that can happen.
With the increasing challenges I see in the classroom – many children not having the basic set of skills (readiness skills) – I decided to do something about it. I created a quick 15 minutes workshop geared towards parents of children entering kindergarten in the fall. I presented this information to the parents (it was a whirlwind of information) and handed out some activities for parents to perform with their kids. Here is what I found:
- Some parents were well versed in kindergarten readiness skills and were already doing activities with their kids
- Some parents had no idea and accepted the information (I’m unsure of what they did with the information given to them)
- And one parent was upset with me that I had to present this (this parent was unaware that this was a problem and was very involved with her child)
However, I was still not reaching the masses and still seeing the problems out there in the schools. So…I decided to go one step further and create a simple course to highlight the following:
- The Who, What, and Why of Readiness Skills
- Areas of Readiness Skills
- Gross Motor
- Fine Motor
- Handwriting Performance
- Daily Living Skills
- Activities to Promote These Skills
I’m in the final stages of finishing up my course. Once it’s complete, I will be providing a link that will direct you to my course. Currently I have it set-up in Udemy (so you will need to create an account) and I will be offering my course for a low fee.
Kindergarten Readiness Skills – Skills for an Easy and Successful Transition into the Educational Environment
My goal is to help children be the best that they can be. We need to start them early by giving them the tools and strategies for them to be successful, not only in school, but throughout life.
We must prepare the future in order for the future to be prepared.