This is Part Three of Your Family’s Literacy Circle Kindergarten Series
Preparing your 5-year-old for Kindergarten can be a daunting task. There are so many questions and concerns parents have regarding the groundwork needed for your child to enter in this totally new learning environment. Academic & social skill abilities usually top the list of worries.
Is my child really ready to enter Kindergarten?!?
ACT THREE: Learning & Teaching Styles
When one teaches, two learn. ~ Robert Heinlein
Hopefully, this post will address some of your concerns. It explores the different Learning Styles of your child as well as the variety of Teaching Styles available to help you & yours decide on the best learning environment for your Kindergartner.
Your Five-Year-Old Wonder Child
Remember last year…around 12 months ago… when your child was 4? Toddlerland was in the distance with fewer & fewer bouts of frustration….S/he was building & planning & talking about it….a lot, but, still experienced some….well, you know.
Did you notice the closer s/he came to his/her 5th birthday, some pretty big changes were beginning to occur? Or should I say evolve? Like a larger understanding & speaking vocabulary? Completing tasks without being told and, maybe, in a “different” way? Longer focus & concentration? Some serious debating going on?
Hmmm… let’s see what else you’ve observed in this young child, who is now only a baby to you and anyone else your age….
Does your child:
- show eagerness to learn new things?
- like to solve problems & puzzles in creative ways?
- use her/his imagination when doing most activities?
- ask a lot of “analytical ” questions?
- consider a variety of options before making a decision?
- enjoy challenges that require “long-term” thinking?
- like to participate in a variety of new experiences?
- prefer activities that involve other children?
S/he is DEFINITELY a 5-year-old, bursting with exuberant enthusiasm and an abundance of creativity.
Kind of….weird…and oh, so, refreshing…Not that this stage of growth & development doesn’t come with its own set of challenges…. But you got this! Your parenting teaching skills are preparing for this next HUGE adventure…..
I Got This, You Say ????
If your child is displaying some, if not all, of those above mentioned characteristics, here are some of the learning skills with confidence building blocks you have successfully and diligently put into play:
- given her/him chances to make simple choices
- helped him/her complete something new without too much interference
- fostered creativity with new experiences with tools & adventures
- exhibited patience during your child’s activity involvements
- recognized her/his achievements
- encouraged his/her progress
PBS Parents’ Child Development Tracker/Approaches to Learning offers a more in-depth study of your 5-year-old’s growth in these areas. Click on the link below:
Need a few more ideas? Check out my 10 Amazing, Info-Packed Websites for Parenting & Child Development in the BLB Resource Library. Just click on the link below:
Your Child’s Learning Style
I recently (today) read an article in my daily feed regarding people’s learning styles. It was debunking the theory, stating there was no significant data to support using this as a teaching tool ~ even though 90% of teachers continue to inventory their students as a basis for diversifying their lessons……
As an educator, I tried to design my lessons with the 3 major Learning Styles in mind. However, I found most Early & Primary students are Hands-On, or Kinesthetic, learners. Most students showed a preference for listening or seeing. Again, a lot of Visual learners.
Even as learning teachers going to workshops/ professional development seminars, we preferred “Make & Take” sessions instead of lectures with power points. The “hand-outs” served as our “hands-on” tools, which we used for…..
What IS My Child’s Learning Style ?
Anywho ~ there are numerous informal inventories you can do to help you “discover” your child’s Learning Style as you prepare for his/her “Going-To-Kindergarten” journey. Your observations are probably enough, but here are a few ideas I gathered from a variety of simple surveys:
My child learns best when:
- watching someone else
- listening to someone
- touching or building
When in a new place, s/he :
- notices the people & sights
- listens to the new & different sounds
- moves around a lot, wiggles & taps
While waiting somewhere, s/he:
- looks around, reads or doodles
- talks or listens to others
- walks around, touching things
My child enjoys:
- reading & drawing
- talking & singing
- running & building
When I read to him/her, s/he:
- loves to point to & talk about the pictures
- repeats the words I am saying
- fidgets & squirms
S/he remembers things more easily when:
- pictures are involved
- verbal repetitions are made
- movement is present
When my child writes or draws, s/he:
- worries how it looks
- talks to self
- pushes hard on the pencil/crayon
S/he needs a learning environment that is:
- free from clutter & lots of movement
- free from a lot of noise
- free from sitting still too long
Now, your child probably does ALL of these things at some time or another. Think in terms of “most of the time”. First choice is a Visual Learner, second choice is an Auditory Learner & choice three is a Kinesthetic Learner.
Want a few more characteristics? Visit the link below for Dr. Molly Pennington’s 2015 article:
Does My Child’s Learning Style Equal Intelligence?
First of all ~ Major NO !
Intelligence is one’s ABILITY to learn, solve and/or create. Learning Style is the WAY one prefers to learn, solve and/or create. Some experts say these are “personality traits” instead of learning styles and intelligence. Your call.
I think being aware of people’s “learning” preferences is an effective way to teach AND learn. I wonder if that’s a smart, er-intelligent way to approach life…..
As a matter of discussion, there are “multiple intelligences”, according to several experts.
In particular, Howard Gardner’s Frames of the Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence, states there are at least 7 (8, if you count Naturalistic). SOOO, how about a Table of these “Smarts” & their characteristics?!?
Gardner's 8 Multiple Intelligences
Intelligence Type Thinking Process Preferences Learning Tools
Word Smart: Verbal-Linguistic words & language read, write, tell stories, speak other languages books, writing tools, journals, word games, puns, tongue twisters, multimedia
Art Smart: Visual-Spatial images & space draw, paint, photography, sculpt, puppetry, daydream art, mazes, puzzles, museums, maps, charts, diagrams, videos
Math Smart: Logical Mathematical
logic & reasoning numbers, science, exploration, patterns, codes puzzles, investigations, experiments, mysteries, brain teasers, calculators, analogies, planetariums
Music Smart: Musical-Rhythmic
melodies & rhythm sing, whistle, hum, tap, listen to music, play an instrument concerts, multimedia, rhythm, rhyme, poetry, songs, recordings
Body Smart: Kinesthetic-Bodily
physical sensations & movement dance, run, jump, build, touch,role-play drama, athletics, tactile experiences, manipulatives
Nature Smart: Naturalist
connections with nature plants, animals,rocks, nature connections, outdoors data collection, exploration, classify natural objects, natural materials, growing things, animal care
People Smart: Interpersonal
social interactions friends, social events, discussions, interviews cooperative learning, board games, peer tutoring, clubs, group games, phones, multimedia, social networks
Self Smart: Intrapersonal
deep inside self set goals, meditate, dream, quiet time, hobbies, reflection secret places, solo time, self-paced projects, journals, books, creative materials
PS Think you are smarter than you thought?!? Me, too!!!
Speaking of Brain Waves
Remember those Right & Left Brain choices discussed in “Our Brain” ?
There are a few strategies you can put in place to assist with your child’s learning skills. You may need to mix it up depending on the subjects s/he is trying to understand.
Left Brain Needs
- a quiet, well-lit space with an individual desk
- structured, independent work
- step-by-step with exact details
- some assistance with defining Main Ideas & Inferences
Right Brain Needs
- a softly-lit group work space
- open-ended, group work
- graphic organizers
- manipulatives & experimentation
And there are a FEW things your 5-year-old needs to know how to do before entering a Kindergarten classroom that have little to do with his/her smarts…..
Ready (or Not) for Kindergarten Class
You don’t remember the times your parent held your handle bars. You remember the day s/he let go. ~ Lenore Skenazy
If you enter “Kindergarten Readiness Skills” in a search engine, you will receive a LOT of responses. My advice ~ choose one written by a Kindergarten teacher. S/he not only is a voice of experience, but tips & strategies will, also, be included on how to fill in some gaps your child may have before the BIG day.
So, some of the lists are quite lengthy…. Education.com lists 10 Kindergarten Readiness Skills with some tips & strategies. I’ve combined it with other ideas, which you can access in the BLB Resource Library. Just click on the link below for Kindergarten Readiness Skills: A Parent & Child Checklist:
In addition to a healthy number of Literacy skills your 5-year-old needs in preparation for Kindergarten, s/he will be, well, bombarded with a KAZILLION classroom & school routines. To be fair, these can change according to school district policy, campus policy and/or teacher preferences.
Karen Jones, an elementary educator with 12 years experience & a parent came up with this lengthy, but accurate inventory of “Routines & Procedures”. Sit down with a snack & a tall drink while you check out this list…..
Ready For Kindergarten ?
One of the most popular Primary classroom activities with children is the Daily Calendar. Students gather as a group around a colorful board to interactively participate while learning some life skill concepts, such as time, weather & vocabulary. I have created one for you & yours ~ My Calendar Corner ~ in BLB’s Shop. Just click on the link below & let me know what you think:
How to Choose A School for Your Kindergartner
The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see. ~ Alexandra K. Trenfor
As your child’s first teacher, you are very aware of how s/he learns, successfully. Kindergarten is a critical year and can set the stage for many years to come. Expectations & curriculum may vary with school/district policy, but most schools, regardless of classification, want your child reading, writing & problem solving with math computations before entering First Grade.
Here are a few of the 10 Factors to consider when selecting a school for your child, according to publicschoolreviews/2017:
Finding a Good Fit
- Will the school provide a specific, rigorous course of study ?
- Will the school accommodate my child’s learning style and/or special needs ?
- What is the level of social contact with peers ?
- How do scheduling & extracurricular activities fit with our family’s ?
Choosing a Focus
- Does the school offer a second language study ?
- Does the school offer opportunities in the Fine and/or Performing Arts ?
- How important is Science & Math ?
- Is new & innovative Technology used as part of the curriculum ?
Looking At Basic Campus Effectiveness
- High expectations
- Great teachers & staff
- Engaged, visible children
- Rigorous curriculum
- Active parent participation
Visiting the School
- Meet teachers, staff & principal
- Talk to other parents & students
- Check out a PTA meeting
- Ask questions
Have A Few More Questions ?
Speaking of questions, readingrockets.org has an article, “Four Steps to Selecting a School for Your Child”, written by the US Department of Education & other websites offering an EXTENSIVE list of questions to address your concerns. You can even download a booklet. Connect with the link below:
So, What Are the Choices ?
There are lots of options including Homeschools, Private Schools & Online Public Schools. The options I will offer in this post are Neighborhood Public Schools & Alternative, or Non-Traditional Schools, which can be considered private.
As an parent & educator, I found the regular availability of Free Play, or Recess was just as important to learning as Nutrition & Academics. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as other studies, children, who had indoor or outdoor Free Play/Recess as a regular part of their school day:
- were more attentive & more productive in the classroom
- developed the thinking skills that are positively linked to learning & academic performance
- created fantasies to help them cope with difficult situations
- provided stress-relief
There are several types of Neighborhood Public Schools to consider:
- the one around the corner or across the street from your home that your child(ren) can walk or ride their bikes to
- a Charter School that may offer an unique, smaller class-size, learning environment and are free from many traditional public school regulations
- a Magnet School that exists outside of “zoned school boundaries”, but is part of the local public school system with alternative methods of instruction
Read below for several other Alternative Schools with unique approaches to educating minds.
Is A Non~Traditional School Right for My Child ?
Several effective methods of teaching do NOT include lectures, homework, report cards or formal assessments. I have only listed these 3 : Montessori, Steiner, and Reggio Emilia, but there are more.
The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn. ~ Maria Montessori, M.D.
- Children select learning activities independently each day.
- Learning tools are tactile.
- Teachers observe, not direct.
- Classes are grouped for 3-year movement.
- Methods are usually found in preschool & elementary schools.
- Several hundred US public schools utilize Montessori practices.
You can learn more by clicking on the link below:
The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility – these three forces are the very nerve of education. ~ Rudolf Steiner, founder
- Children are prepared for “living”, emphasizing creative expression with social & spiritual values .
- Learning tools are :(4-6) sensory-based, (7-14) creativity-based, (15-18) structure & social-based.
- Teacher & curriculum- directed.
- Classes are grouped for 7-year movement.
- Methods are found in K-12 Waldorf schools.
- There are eight hundred Waldorf schools internationally.
You can learn more by clicking on the link below:
Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colors. ~ Loris Malaguzzi, founder
- Children self-direct a variety of creative projects.
- Learning tools are art & discovery-based.
- Teachers guide, not instruct, without set lesson plans.
- Classrooms mimic home environments.
- Methods are used for teaching children ages 3-6 .
- Schools all over the world utilize this inquiry-based practice.
You can learn more by clicking on the link below:
Need More Educational Options Info ?
There are other traditional & non-traditional school options available for you to think about. Educational World. com can help you with this.
Click on the link below for multiple articles, reviews, resources & links regarding teaching approaches, philosophies & practices:
You, Your Child & School
As an educator in Primary & Intermediate classrooms, I discovered one of the most important ways to ensure a student’s success was the parent’s involvement with his/her child’s school activities & academic engagement. Putting habits and expectations in place during this first year will lay the foundation for self-motivation and responsibility in the future (until adolescence…..). You will see a resurgence, usually, during Senior-itis & college, hopefully.
Your child will benefit by your involvement in his/her education at school. Send him/her ready for school by:
- Making sure s/he is well-fed & rested
- Checking s/he is dressed appropriately
- Has the necessary school supplies
- Has completed homework and/or projects
I created a mini~picture “Ready For School” poster help your Kindergartner each school morning & evening before. Post it at eye level in your child’s room or by the front door. Click on the link below to print the PDF:
Parent Involvement Strategies
Tiffani Chin, PhD, the founder of EdBoost & author of School Sense, suggests several general strategies for parents to follow when becoming involved in your child’s education in school:
- attend school events, like “Meet the Teacher”, Open House, festivals & fairs
- visit the website
- talk with teachers, counselors, administrators & staff
School Is A Priority
- check the backpack every day for school notes & correspondence
- help with homework
- visit your neighborhood library
- attend educational events & places
- go to conferences
Partner with The Teachers
- ask how to help your child
- voice your concerns about your child performance & behaviors
- listen carefully & follow the advice
- respond to notes, emails and/or phone calls
- show you appreciate their efforts
The relationship between you, your child & school is best expressed as one of teamwork. Strengthening this bond tells your child his/her “work on the job” is important, meaningful & necessary.
Remember to keep the Family Literacy Circle alive & well as your child’s First classroom. Read Your Educational Home Environment in BLB’s Resource Library by clicking on the link below:
So, How Was Your Day At School ?
In spite of my child “doing nothing” at school everyday (because I always asked) for 12 years, or let’s just say the last 8 years of K~HS, he was able to graduate from college with honors and go on to graduate school…..
Fear not, Liz Evans @simplesimon&company offers some creative, answerable questions to ask your child each day after school. Click on the link below:
AND… if and when Homework is involved……I created a a read with some Parent Involvement Strategies in Your Homework Help HOTLINE, available in BLB’s Resource Library. Just click on the link below:
I hope this post has been helpful to you. These decisions can cause anxiety with some sleeplessness……
Let me know if you have any questions, concerns and/or additions you would like to see. Just fill in the Contact Me form below……(and she’s still talking…..). You will NOT be subscribing.
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