Before We Know it, Our Babies are going to Kindergarten!
I feel like I’m finally getting into the preschool groove with my son. We have our routine of half day school three days a week, I’m figuring out just what to bring for a class snack, and he can now get himself dressed in the snowsuit for recess.
Of course the minute I get comfortable with how things are, my cute and cuddly preschooler turns into a big boy and the big scary question now looms:
Is My Son Ready for Kindergarten?
How do I know?
The teachers at NorthPointe Christian understand the anxiety behind this question, and are here to help!
The first thing they say you should look for are some simple markers of growth.
Signs Your Child Could be Ready for Kindergarten
“There are many factors for a parent to consider, but there are a few things I check to help determine students’ readiness,” says Julie Childers, veteran kindergarten and preschool teacher at NorthPointe Christian Schools.
Signs of Academic readiness
Can your child:
- Write their first name
- Do they know their first and last name
- Know all of the letters of the alphabet
- Know the sounds all of the letters make
- Recognize numbers to 10
- Recognize colors and shapes
Signs of Emotional Readiness
Can your child:
- Sit through the reading of a book
- Follow basic directions
- Get along with peers
Signs of Life Readiness
Can your child:
- Zip their own coat
- Take care of their bathroom needs
Obviously it’s not as simple as checking these items off a list but this can give you an idea or your son or daughter’s readiness.
“Kindergarten is quite rigorous now,” says Julie, “and students really do need to know all of their letters and letter sounds before walking into kindergarten.
I’ve actually been wondering if delaying kindergarten for my son is the right move. After reading this list, I can see that my little buddy would NOT flourish in kindergarten next year – that kid has some more growing to do.
NorthPointe’s Options for Kids after Preschool
Young Fives Preps Kids for Kindergarten
Young fives is a great program for kids who are on the cusp of Kindergarten readiness. This melding of Preschool and Kindergarten allows students can ease into basic math and reading skills. I did young fives for both of my daughters and it was perfect for them.
Even though this programming is disappearing in many areas around Grand Rapids, NorthPointe Christian sees the value in this class and continues to offer this curriculum that will enhance your child’s learning and prepare them for Kindergarten.
Three-Day and Five-Day Kindergartens
If your child is sooo close to kindergarten readiness, then 3-day kindergarten may be the perfect segue into full time school.
“This option is especially valuable for the child that shows academic readiness but may need more time to emotionally adjust to the long days of Kindergarten,” says Julie.
That would be my daughter. She loved her half day early fives class, but the all-day, every-day of Kindergarten exhausted her physically and mentally. She would cry and cry about going to school because it was just so hard. Three full days would have been a perfect bridge between the half days of pre-k and the full-time job of first grade.
And the kids who are just mentally and socially ready to dive into full time school? Sign them up for 5-Day Kindergarten! My niece is a poster child for 5-day kindergarten. She’s just a few months older than my son, but she will be a year ahead of him in school because she’s a super extrovert, super into learning, and just dying to be with her teacher and friends as much as possible.
No matter what “after preschool” option you are leaning toward, your child can take it in Spanish Immersion. NorthPointe Christian offers Young Fives in both English and Spanish Immersion, as well as their 3 & 5 day Kindergartens.
Ways You can Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
There are rich benefits to the time parents spend with their children. And you don’t have to do anything special.
“Involving children in everyday activities such as going to the grocery store and counting the bananas as you buy them, visiting the library, reading together, or cooking together provide a huge benefit to learning that we too often dismiss,” says Julie.
“These real world experiences lay the groundwork for curiosity and a love of learning.”
For more about NorthPointe Christian Schools Early Childhood Programs and Elementary School, including Young Fives and 3 & 5 Day Kindergarten, visit www.npchristian.org or join them for an upcoming Parent/Child Learning Lab.