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Kindergarten Ready

So many exciting firsts are part of starting school. Riding the school bus! Going through the cafeteria line! Checking out a library book! Playing on the playground with classmates! But are you and your child ready for the big day? Whether anticipating or anxious, parents of preschoolers will find information and resources on this site that they can use to help get their little ones prepared for kindergarten including:

  • A Link to our registration page
  • Skill information and ideas to help ease the transition to school for both parents and students
  • Helpful (homemade) video tips on ways to get “Kindergarten Ready” created by school staff and community partners
  • Online resources to support early learning

See the menu at the top left of this page and check each section of the CCPS Kindergarten Ready site for information to support your child’s development and age appropriate activities to help your child be… 

Register Now!
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Let's Get K Ready Newsletter

K-Ready skills

Get your preschooler ready for kindergarten

The following is a guide that will help you to teach your child academic and social capabilities to prepare them for their monumental first day.

We have pulled together various resource from skill lessons to video resources and also links to outside resources to help guide you along the way.

Early Literacy Skills

  • Phonemic Awareness- Picking up on sounds, syllables, and rhymes in the words through exposure and repetition
  • Awareness of Print- Understanding that written language has a direct relationship with spoken language
  • Vocabulary – Knowing the names of things is important when learning to read, most children enter school with a 3,000-5,000 word vocabulary
  • Narrative Skills- Comprehending and telling a story as well as describing things

Because 90% brain development occurs by the age of 5, parents and caregivers will want to help their child make connections daily and build the brain’s learning capacity. It is like working out…use it or lose it! We want to stimulate our children’s brains early so that it will be easier for them to learn to read. Reading is an absolutely essential skill for success in school. Children who enter school with strong literacy skills have an advantage that carries with them throughout their school years and the rest of their lives. We all want children to enter school with a love of books and be ready to learn.

The easiest way of developing literacy skills in your child is read to him or her, and it’s never too early to start! Borrow books from the local library, purchase books and start a collection, find deals at Goodwill , Chesterfield County Public Library sales, and even stores like 2nd and Charles. Listen to stories on apps such as Kindle or Audible. There are so many options! Research has proven that children who grow up with a home library and books will have greater success in school and in adulthood.

No matter where you get your books or what book you choose to read to your child, here are some ideas about how to get the most out of a picture book:

  • Choose stories together! Select books that both you and your child will enjoy!

  • Have Fun! Read with expression. Make sound effects, do different voices for characters—whatever makes it fun for you and your child!

  • Make it interactive! Are there words or phrases that get repeated? Have your child join in.

  • Talk about it! Talk about the pictures and discuss the story. Make predictions about what will happen in the story.

Spend time with your child reading and rereading books! Play, sing and talk together as often as you can! During the formative years of 0-5 years old, children develop fast and your involvement in early literacy is crucial for a child’s success in school and quality of life!

From the moment a child is born, language and literacy begin providing an essential foundation for that child’s success in school. We all know that literacy, the skills required to read, write, and process information, strengthens our communication skills allowing us to interact with the world around us. Early literacy is exposing young children to reading and writing before they are able to do it on their own. Reading, talking, playing and singing are ways to help encourage literacy growth in your child.

Everyday Learning Opportunities for Literacy

Do you want more ideas for quick and easy early literacy activities to do at home with your upcoming kindergartner? Watch these 2-3 minute videos created by our CCPS staff and early childhood community supporters.

Early Literacy Acquisition Resources

The American Association for Pediatrics suggests limiting screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs for children age 2 to 5 years. Look for sites and apps that provide for opportunities to create, connect, and critically think! Below you will find some sites that provide high-quality age appropriate literacy learning opportunities for your preschool child. Try them out together!

ABCya!
Pals
Starfall
PBS Reading
Storytime Online
Epic

Early Math Skills

Before starting school, most children naturally develop an understanding of math concepts through everyday interactions. This is because math is everywhere! Children see their parents counting out silverware, cooking, telling time, doing household projects, and playing games. This exposure helps to build early math skills which will be the foundation for later learning.

  • Shapes: Understanding size, shape, and patterns

  • Number Recognition and Basic Counting: verbally (first forward, then backward)

  • How much?: Counting objects and identifying more and less of a quantity

  • Same-Different: Understanding one-to-one correspondence (i.e., matching sets, or knowing which group has four and which has five)

Like early reading and literacy skills, early math skills will help pave the way for a successful academic experience. We want children to have positive attitudes towards reading and books and also mathematical concepts! Math skills help a child make sense of the world. These skills are are often transferable and build on one another so it is imperative that children have a solid foundation from the get-go. In addition, math activities encourage inquiry, reasoning, and intellectual curiosity. Skills that are important for life long learners!

Opportunities for learning these skills are everywhere – and there are simple, enjoyable activities that parents can do to foster a love of math. Do some cooking and measuring with your child. Count how many times he/she can jump rope. Build something together. Play a board game. Sort socks. The possibilities are endless! Talk and encourage your child to see the numbers and math all around us. While you are doing everyday tasks, ask your child questions like:

  • How many are there? Which has more?
  • Which one is smaller? Which one is the largest?
  • How could you sort these?
  • Do you notice a pattern?

Children use math concepts frequently while they play, and the more “math language” children hear daily, the more math connections they will make thus building a solid foundation for future learning. Be your child’s math role model!

Everyday Learning Opportunities for Literacy

Online Activities and Apps to Support Early Math Acquisition

The American Association for Pediatrics suggests limiting screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs for children age 2 to 5 years. Look for sites and apps that provide for opportunities to create, connect, and critically think! Below you will find some sites that provide high-quality age appropriate learning opportunities for your preschool child to learn early math vocabulary and concepts. Try them out together!

ABCya!
PBS Math Games
eMediaVA Math
Fun Brain Math PK-K
Sheppard Software Math PK-K
Ready to Learn Math PBS

Early STEAM Skills

From the moment a child is born they are curious and ready to explore the world to learn how things work. This is the essence of STEAM learning. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

S is for Science– Children are naturally scientists. They try to figure out how the world works by engaging their five senses in the scientific method. The scientific method includes observing, forming questions, making predictions, designing and carrying out experiments, and discussing the results of the experiments.

T is for Technology– Cell phones, computers, and tablets are the first things that we think of when we hear technology. but the “T” for technology in STEAM also stands for any type of man-made tool or object. Simple tools like ramps, pulleys, wheels, axles, levers, and scissors are also technologies.

E is for Engineering– Children use the design process to deepen understanding of concepts using critical thinking skills to solve problems or make things better. Students brainstorm and create solutions to problems such as using consumables to create an umbrella that will protect a stuffed bear from the rain. 

A is for Arts- Art in all forms whether it is created through humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media is integral to developing students’ higher learning skills. When children engage in painting, music, drawing, and playing pretend they are strengthening their mental dexterity, increasing motor skills, enhancing visual learning, and boosting higher decision-making skills. All of these are skills that can be applied to any subject!

M is for Math- Math is a tool children use everyday! Math is number and operations, measurement, patterns, geometry and spatial sense. Everyday mathematics for preschoolers may include knowledge of “more” and “less,”shapes, sizes, sequencing, volume, and distance.

STEAM breaks down curriculum silos and provides opportunities for rich cross curricular learning. For instance,a simple STEAM activity of building a block tower provides opportunities for observation, questioning, prediction, exploring, and discussion the Scientific Method.

  • Observation- “This tower is tall, but I want to make it taller!”

  • Questioning- “How high can I make this tower if I arrange the blocks differently?”

  • Prediction- “If I put the big blocks at the bottom and the smaller square blocks at the top maybe I can build it higher.”

  • Exploring- “I will build a bunch of towers to see if my prediction is true.”

  • Discussion- “What worked and what did not work when you tried out building tall towers?”

The five disciplines of STEAM fit together seamlessly and help children make cross curricular connections. This hands-on learning is especially important for children as they grow as it provides opportunities for problem solving and out of the box thinking. Language development, independent thinking and learning to collaborate are also products of STEAM. Often requiring strategy and persistence, STEAM learning lays the foundation for future problem solving and creative thinking. Skills that are needed in our 21st Century!

STEAM learning happens naturally everyday as children explore, play, and try new things. Parents can create an environment for STEAM learning to occur by having everyday materials that support STEAM thinking available for their child to explore like:

  • Balls
  • Books
  • Costumes, Role-play items
  • 2- and 3-dimensional shapes
  • Blocks
  • Construction/Building sets
  • Wheels
  • Ramps
  • Cardboard
  • Clay
  • Paints/watercolors
  • Scissors
  • Rulers/measuring tapes
  • Tubes, funnels, sifters
  • Sand/water
  • Snow/ice
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Measuring cups
  • Sticks and rocks
  • Stamps and stamp pads
  • Containers of all shapes and sizes
  • Paper, Cardboard, Foil
  • Tapes (duct, scotch, masking)

Opportunities for learning these skills are everywhere – and there are simple, enjoyable activities that parents can do to foster a love of math. Do some cooking and measuring with your child. Count how many times he/she can jump rope. Build something together. Play a board game. Sort socks. The possibilities are endless! Talk and encourage your child to see the numbers and math all around us. While you are doing everyday tasks, ask your child questions like:

  • How many are there? Which has more?
  • Which one is smaller? Which one is the largest?
  • How could you sort these?
  • Do you notice a pattern?

Children use math concepts frequently while they play, and the more “math language” children hear daily, the more math connections they will make thus building a solid foundation for future learning. Be your child’s math role model!

Everyday Learning Opportunities

Websites with Activities and Ideas to Support Early STEAM Learning

Below are websites with resources and activity ideas for STEAM Learning. Some websites and activities are geared toward hand on learning and others are online for children. Peruse and find what may interest your little one!

Engineering Games - PBS
Curious George STEM - PBS
Smithsonian Science Education
Wide Open School
NASA for Kids
Bob the Builder

Fine Motor Skills

Motor skills are skills that enable the movements and tasks we do with our bodies on a daily basis. Gross motor skills use the large muscles in the body and include movements such as walking, jumping, skipping, and throwing a ball. Fine motor skills are those skills that require control and precision in the small muscles of the hand like using a pencil. Both of these skill types are important in the development of young children.

Fine motor skills depend on the use of the small muscles that control the hand, fingers, and thumb. These skills, along with arm strength and hand-eye coordination, lay the groundwork for all sorts of important competencies for your future kindergartner. Children need dexterity and strength in these muscles so that they can independently feed themselves, use utensils, button and zip clothes, and manipulate toys. Fine motor development is essential for children’s emergent and writing skills. Your child will need to grasp a pencil correctly to form letters and eventually write.

Parents and caregivers can help children develop these fine motor muscles by offering their children opportunities to play with a variety of items like play dough, Legos, crayons, and child safe scissors. The kitchen is a perfect place to practice fine motor skills. Your child can help in the kitchen through measuring, pouring, peeling veggies and even cutting with a child-safe knife. Some activities or tasks may be frustrating for your child at first. That is ok! Let them practice and master skills. Learning persistence and patience is important too!

  • Balls
  • Books
  • Costumes, Role-play items
  • 2- and 3-dimensional shapes
  • Blocks
  • Construction/Building sets
  • Wheels
  • Ramps
  • Cardboard
  • Clay
  • Paints/watercolors
  • Scissors
  • Rulers/measuring tapes
  • Tubes, funnels, sifters
  • Sand/water
  • Snow/ice
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Measuring cups
  • Sticks and rocks
  • Stamps and stamp pads
  • Containers of all shapes and sizes
  • Paper, Cardboard, Foil
  • Tapes (duct, scotch, masking)

Everyday Learning Opportunities

Do you want more ideas for quick and easy fine motor building activities to do with your upcoming kindergartner? Watch these 2-3 minute homemade videos created by our CCPS staff and early childhood community supporters.

Resources to Support Fine Motor Development

Want to prepare your little one for handwriting? Start by building those fine motor muscles! Below you will find some sites that provide easy to implement age appropriate fine motor development ideas for your preschool child. Try them out together!
Hands on as we Grow
The Imagination Tree
PreKinders
Learning without Tears
OT Mom Learning Activities
OT Toolbox

Social Emotional Skills

Social and emotional development is a child’s ability to have empathy and understand others, control his or her own feelings and behaviors, get along with other children, and build secure relationships with adults. In a nutshell, it involves the way one feels about themselves and others and the world.

When we think of school, we think of academics right away. Of course, school is all about reading, writing, and arithmetic but it is also a social place! In an average classroom, there can be 20-25 children. In order to learn, children need to follow directions, get along with their peers, and handle their emotions. That is why social and emotional skills are crucial to school success. The Kindergarten year is a particularly important time period for this area of development because it’s where the foundational skills for appropriate social behavior are learned and embedded. Better behavior, lower levels of emotional stress, and positive wellbeing are outcomes of well rounded social emotional development.

Attending a preschool program is one of the best ways for your child to develop these skills. Though if you are unable to send your child to preschool you can help your child develop these skills by playing! Yes, playing! When children have time to free play and interact with others, there is a lot going on below the surface. Children are using their imaginations and learning to share, take turns, and participate in a conversation. While playing, children also learn to behave appropriately, understand what is fair and just, develop empathy, enhance problem solving skills, and self regulate. Unstructured free time to play with other children is very important for our little ones.

Parents should also model positive behavior and talk about feelings and appropriate responses. Here are some more ideas for developing social emotional skills:

1. Think out loud when you are working through a problem. Letting your child know how you are working through an issue and your thinking process can be valuable. For example, you could say things like, “Oh no, I keep losing my car keys. I better start placing them on the shelf by the door when I get home”. This link will take you to more info on teaching you child to problem solve.

2. Use Puppets, Dolls, or Action Figures to talk about conflicts with children. Help children think of solutions to their problems through the puppets. This will help identify feelings and the words to go with the feeling like happy, sad, angry, and frustrated. Click here to learn more.

3. Read and discuss stories. Finding time in the day to share a book and making it part of your daily routine is invaluable. Bedtime is always a special time for bonding and talking with your child. After reading a story, discuss the characters and events in the story. Invite your child to share her thoughts and feelings by asking questions. Do they agree or disagree with the characters actions. Need book ideas? Click here for books to support social emotional learning.

4. Do jobs around the together or give your child simple daily tasks to perform. Responsibility and accountability in small doses during the preschool years can teach independence. Working together with your child to complete household work can also give you a chance to model and praise your child about the importance of being self reliant. Sorting socks, help setting the table, or picking up toys would be age appropriate household work for a 4-5 year old. Learn more here.

5. Play games together. Board games like Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land and outdoor games like tag or hop-scotch offer opportunities for learning to take turns, cooperate, deal with frustration, and so much more. You can talk about winning gracefully when they win and acting appropriately when they lose. Here is a link to more information about the benefits of playing games with your preschooler.

See the videos below to get more fun ideas to support your child’s social emotional development

Resources for Social Emotional Development

The American Association for Pediatrics suggests limiting screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs for children age 2 to 5 years. Look for sites and apps that provide for opportunities to create, connect, and critically think! Below you will find some sites that provide high-quality age appropriate learning opportunities and ideas for your preschool child. Try them out together!

PBS

Learning Media Social Emotional

NAEYC

Building Social Emotional Skills at Home

We are Teachers SEL
Rocket Kids SEL Videos
Wide Open School SEL
Cosmic Kids

Community Resources for Supporting Early Learning

Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation – Need ideas for a family outing? Want to get out and explore a new place close to home? There are so many ways to experience Chesterfield through the great outdoors or through a recreational program. Visit the Parks and Rec website to learn more.

Children’s Museum of Richmond – Did you know that the Chesterfield location of the Children’s Museum of Richmond is on Hull Street? Plan your visit by perusing their website! Also check out their blog.

Chesterfield County Public Library – Your local library is a power house of information! You will find so many events, resources, and supports by visiting a CCPL branch today! Be sure to watch CCPL Online Storytime. Use the button below to access their videos on YouTube. 

Greater Richmond Fit for Kids – Greater Richmond Fit4Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving children’s health and reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity in the Richmond region. We do this by offering innovative programs that promote physical activity and healthy eating in schools, community organizations, and beyond.

Positive Parenting – Check this site for resources and classes for Chesterfield children and parents!

VPM – Virginia’s home for Public Media, VPM is committed to fulfilling the promise of public broadcasting by using the power of media to enrich the human spirit and make our community a better place. They offer many learning opportunities for families and children of all ages.

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