Kindergarten Readiness – Mother, May I?

 Mother and May both start with the letter M. The letter M makes the sound mmm. What else starts with the sound mmm?
Sounds like a simple question doesn’t it? While the question may be easy the answer requires a critical skill called phonological awareness.  This is the concept that words are made of bits of sounds. For instance, the word may has 2 ‘sound-puzzle’ pieces: mmm and aaa. Once children have developed this awareness they can manipulate words and hear both rhyming sounds and initial sounds. This skill is absolutely critical for learning to read.

Here are some more ideas:  do mother and coat start with the same sound? do mother and mitten start the same?  how about more and basket? 

P.S. You can even disguise a few hints in the questions:  do mother and flowers start with the same sound? how about mother and chocolate? do mother and (name of favorite restaurant) start the same? Maybe the family will get the clues! Enjoy your meal out. Make the most of your memories.

Kindergarten Readiness – Share 1 2 3 & 4

This is Blog #4 about sharing. Sharing is one of the first social skills that children learn. Both songs and books can promote learning to share. Just like a coin, sharing has two sides. Children need to learn how to share with others and they need to learn how to ask others to share with them. Parents and caregivers can provide this support by encouraging children to use the words please and thank you, as a start. As before, there are some fun stories about using the magic words or you can just make up a story. Here’s a quick sample.  The scene is the kitchen table and the fork and spoon are talking:

Hello, Spoon.    Why hello, Fork.
Spoon, please pass me the knife. I see that you have the knife right beside you on that side of the plate. I would like to share the knife with you so I could cut this piece of bread.
Why, certainly, Fork.  I liked how you remembered to say please. You didn’t reach over and just grab the knife, you asked in a very mannerly voice. Why,  thank you, Spoon. That’s very kind. It’s been a slice talking to you.

I know that it’s quite likely that other adults in the room will question your sanity when you become the voices of Fork and Spoon, or Shoe and Sock, or Toy Car and Toy Block, and have a conversation but children are not so critical. Better than lecturing or nagging, children see and hear the lesson and engage the power of their imaginations to remember the social message.

“Computers, I would like to ask you to please share this message with others and could you ask them to send in their comments and suggestions, too? Thank you for your help.”

Kindergarten Readiness – Once Upon a Share

Lessons on sharing can also come from books. The two previous posts have discussed helping kids learn to share .  “Being told how” lessons are easy to forget. Stories add a dimension of “being part of the action” that is easier to remember. Here’s just a few suggestions. There are many, many children’s books on the topic of sharing. Libraries and bookstores will have more great books and stories suitable for different ages.

The Big Brown Boxby Marisabina Russo, Little T Learns to Share by Terrell Owens, I Want It by Elizabeth Cray, and Sharing is Fun by Joanne Cole. 

 Even the old traditional story of Stone Soup imparts a lesson about sharing, but this time about grownups that learn to share.  Speaking of sharing, do you have any other stories about sharing that have worked for your family?

Kindergarten Readiness – Music for Sharing

This week, as prompted by a recent Michele Borba presentation, our topic is the social skill of sharing. Like any other skill it becomes easier with practice, (given that the situation is fair and reasonable). Children respond to songs better than nagging, so here is a way to remind kids and teach them sharing strategies. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Music for Sharing

Kindergarten Readiness – May & Michele Borba

Last week, I had the opportunity to hear Michele Borba at a Parents’ Night Out.  Her powerful presentation on Moral Intelligence reminded me that social and emotional skills are an important part of readiness, too. One of the skills that helps children at school is the ability to share. At school there is 1 teacher … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – May & Michele Borba

Kindergarten Readiness – Kinder-garten

Over 150 years ago, on May 1,  Friedrich Froebel coined the term ‘Kindergarten’.  As a teacher his dream was to provide an education for children that developed not only their minds and bodies, but also their spirits by tapping into children’s playful and creative natures. The German word Kinder-garten, child’s garden, describes children growing and blooming … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Kinder-garten

Kindergarten Readiness – Alphabet In Our Genes

While finding and remembering a variety of alphabet activities for the daily blog entries I also searched some information and was astounded by the results. The alphabet is not just for kids. A dance troupe has recreated all the letters of the alphabet in ballet like poses and compiled the photos into a book called … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Alphabet In Our Genes

Kindergarten Readiness – String up the ABC’s

One of my favorite gifts from a student is a letter name bracelet. Although stringing beads is definitely a craft for older kids who have outgrown the tendency to put everything in the mouth, it should be done with careful adult supervision just in case. Pick up some beads at a craft store and start stringing. Children … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – String up the ABC’s

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning That Sticks

Stickers are another great fun project for practicing the alphabet and inexpensive, too. To add an extra layer or two of learning, point to the letters and say their names. Or have your child say the names. Randomly pick a letter for your little one to find. Notice which letters look very different, and which the same. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Learning That Sticks