Kindergarten

Elementary School

My Opus

A Healthy Beginning Builds A Strong Future.
What You Should Expect From You Child’s Education (By Grade)

Below you’ll find a list of tasks your child should be able to execute and concepts they should understand if they properly comprehended what was taught during the school year.

Pre-Kindergarten

Ages 4 and 5 can be a time of great development for your child, both academically and physically. He may be starting to understand simple math concepts and may begin outgrowing picky eating habits. Support his growth in all areas by selecting a topic below.  All parents want their children to have a strong start in life, and preschool provides a solid foundation for a successful future in school. If you worry that your child might not be ready for preschool, rest assured that there are a number of ways to help your little one prepare for this important transition before she starts preschool. 
Pre-K & Kindergarten

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Here are some tips on activating and cultivating your child’s creativity and imagination in preparation for Kindergarten.

Encourage Independence

Children learn from their successes as well as their missteps, so don’t rush to rescue your child in every challenging situation. “Socially adept children learn from parents who have confidence in their child’s ability to soothe themselves in a difficult situation and make appropriate choices when allowed to or, at the very least, [to] learn and grow from their mistakes,” says Grace Geller, the preschool director of A Children’s Carousel in Weston, Florida.

Geller recommends encouraging your child to become independent with basic self-care skills, such as hand washing, nose wiping, opening lunch containers, manipulating simple clothing fasteners, zipping a backpack, and covering his mouth when coughing or sneezing. Teach your little one how to undress at night and have him pick out his outfit for the following day. If he wants to dress himself in the morning, keep in mind that he may need some assistance.

Prime for Potty Training

“Potty training is a complex issue,” Geller says. Before selecting a preschool, ask about the potty training policy. If independent toileting is required, carefully consider if your child is developmentally ready to be potty trained. If she’s not, don’t force it. But if your child is able to keep her diaper dry for an hour, then she’s likely ready to begin training. “Preschools should be willing to assist a parent in the toilet training process,” Geller says.

Instill Organization

Teach your child how to be organized. Work with him on ways to keep his clothes, toys, and gear organized in his room. Kate Dust, an early childhood education professor at Buffalo State College, suggests using inexpensive and colorful baskets or bins and storing similar items together.

After a play session, tell your little one it’s time to clean up and show him where each item belongs. Make it fun by singing a cleanup song until the area is tidy. Once your child knows the routine, have him clean up on his own. Be sure to praise him if he does a good job.

 

Develop Social Skills

Social readiness, not academic readiness, should be a priority, says Claire Haas, vice president of education at The Kiddie Academy in Abingdon, Maryland. “Going to preschool is about socialization. When thinking about preschool, consider these questions: Can your child be away from you? Is she moving out of diapers? Is she talking about school?”

Social skills that are necessary for preschool include sharing, taking turns, playing with peers, and participating in pretend play. The most natural way for your little one to learn these skills is during peer play, so have your child participate in plenty of playdates prior to the first day of preschool.

Start teaching manners early, so that your child knows how to mind her p’s and q’s by the time she starts preschool. Greeting others, using table manners, following directions, not interrupting, and saying please, thank you, and excuse me are ways your child shows respect and consideration for others. Your child’s teacher will be impressed.

Encourage Emotional Readiness

Julie Nelson, a professor of early childhood education and a former preschool teacher, believes that emotional readiness is an important social skill for preschool. It’s necessary, she says, to “help children identify and process emotions in a healthy manner. When a child exhibits a strong emotion, it is usually best not to judge, undermine, or devalue [him] with such phrases as ‘don’t act like a baby,’ or ‘you drive me crazy with your tantrums.’ A preschooler has difficulty understanding and putting labels on feelings and can feel out of control in these situations. [He doesn’t] know why [he is] experiencing certain feelings or how to deal with those feelings. Parents can help by allowing the child to express their emotions in a safe situation and labeling the specific emotion by saying, ‘Oh, you are cranky because you are so tired.’ Let the child know you will be ready to talk when they are calm,” she says. Learning to manage and express emotions in a healthy manner is not only important for preschool; it’s also an essential life skill.

Cultivate Communication Skills

Talking and listening are extremely valuable for school success, and parents have countless opportunities to develop their child’s language skills. “Whether it’s discussing what’s in a room, talking about daily routines, or chatting about what’s for dinner, parents can help expand a child’s vocabulary by introducing new words and expressions. Teachable moments come from the child’s own observations or from things they’re interested in because children are so excited and curious to learn more. It can be hard when parents are working, but teachable moments can be just a few minutes or even a few seconds. The trick is to be aware that the things that we see and do as we go through our days may seem mundane to us, but to our children they are wonders,” says Rebecca Palacios, Ph.D., Senior Curriculum Advisor for ABCmouse.com.

Focus on the Basics

Prior to preschool, teach your child his full name, his parents’ names, and street name and number. She may even be ready to learn her phone number. Teach this by demonstrating how to dial the number on a toy phone and saying the numbers out loud. Encourage your child to do the same, providing prompts as needed. Also, if your child has an allergy or special health need, make sure she understands the importance of keeping the information accessible on a bracelet or note card.

Put Away the Flash Cards

Don’t address academic skills in a drill format. It’s much more fun to provide natural opportunities to expose your child to the basics such as colors, numbers, and the ABCs. Point out letters and colors on street signs and sing counting songs. “As a parent, you create the environments and experiences where learning happens, which makes you your child’s first teacher,” Dr. Palacios says. Don’t stress out if your little one isn’t an academic ace before he starts in a program. Rest assured, he’ll gain those skills in preschool.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten can be a big year of change for your child. At ages 5 and 6, your child may be in the classroom fulltime for the first time, and she may be developing more curiosity in the world around her. Support her growth by selecting a topic below to get started.
Pre-K & Kindergarten

Kindergarten is the grade which bridges students’ preschool educations with their future elementary school learning. There is still plenty of playing, singing and crafts in kindergarten but it is often balanced with more rigorous writing, reading and math lessons. Kindergartners also continue to learn and get used to the routines of school, how to work in groups and how to be a successful student.

The expectations for what students should achieve and specifically, whether they should know how to read and write by the end of kindergarten, varies across schools. Consult with your child’s school and teacher for details regarding their specific philosophies and curriculum.

Kindergarten classrooms are often organized by centers or areas which are divided by different subjects and different types of play. For example, a typical kindergarten classroom may have the following centers: reading, arts and crafts, building and math toys, and a pretend play area. The school day is structured with both time for free play, during which children can choose which centers to play in, as well as structured scheduled lessons devoted to each subject.

Research has shown that participants in full-day kindergartens often achieve higher standardized test scores in the future and generally excel in school. In addition, they develop strong social skills as they engage in more child-to-child interactions and develop their interpersonal skills.

What You Child Should Know By The End Of This Grade:

Follow class rules
Separate from a parent or caregiver with ease
Take turns
Cut along a line with scissors
Establish left- or right-hand dominance
Understand time concepts like yesterday, today, and tomorrow
Stand quietly in a line
Follow directions agreeably and easily
Pay attention for 15 to 20 minutes
Hold a crayon and pencil correctly
Share materials such as crayons and blocks
Know the eight basic colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, black, white, and pink
Recognize and write the letters of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase forms
Know the relationship between letters and the sounds they make
Recognize sight words such as the and read simple sentences
Spell his first and last name
Write consonant-vowel-consonant words such as bat and fan
Retell a story that has been read aloud
Identify numbers up to 20
Count by ones, fives, and tens to 100
Know basic shapes such as a square, triangle, rectangle, and circle
Know her address and phone number
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Science

Very often, teachers will teach specific science lessons once to a few a times a week. During this time the class will learn about a certain topic, for example, water, weather, animals, or plants and nature, through the use of books, demonstrations with actual objects, explorations outside or interactive activities. In addition, kindergartners are natural scientists as they play and explore the world around them with their curious minds. Very often, science lessons overlap with math and literacy as teachers use tools such as books, graphs and measurement to help students learn. Since specific science topics learned in a kindergarten class vary across schools, find out which specific science topics your child will be learning and find ways to explore and learn about these topics at home.

In order to build science skills. your kindergartner:

Is a natural born scientist, constantly exploring, observing, questioning and experimenting as she plays and interacts with her surroundings.
Learns new facts about a variety of topics.
Explores and experiments with the world around her and with objects provided by the teacher.
Makes observations and records what she sees and learns using graphs, pictures, and words.

Science Activities

Observe Nature: Pick something in nature — plants, the moon, a rain storm, etc. — and observe it with your child for a few days or even weeks. Ask your child to draw pictures of what she notices, patterns and differences between things. You can write things down as well. Do this repeatedly and keep a science journal of different objects.
Inspect Your Food: Cut open different fruits and vegetables and see what you find inside! Talk about the seeds, the difference between fruits and vegetables and other things you notice. Try planting some of the seeds!
Make Science Collages: Use pictures from magazines, newspapers or online (with supervision) to create collages of different categories of science objects, such as animals, plants birds, and fish.
Learn About a Favorite Animal: Pick an animal your child loves and learn about it. Read about it, see it at a zoo or farm or look at pictures online. Then help your child create a collage of she what she learned about that animal using pictures and texts. 

Reading Activities

Read and Repeat: Have your child “read” her favorite book to you, using her memory, associations, and clues from the pictures.

Alphabet Books: Use drawings or pictures from magazines to create an alphabet book which has a letter and an object that begins with that letter on each page.

Fill in the Blank: When you read a favorite picture book to your child and you come across a short word that rhymes or is familiar to your child because he knows the book very well, stop and let him say the word. Point to the word as he says it and spell it out.

Act it Out: Act out parts of or the whole story of your child’s favorite and well-known books.

Writing Skills

A kindergartener whose built proper writing skills writes uppercase and lowercase letters.  Writes his/her name.  Writes some letters and words when they are dictated.  Uses invented or creative spelling to write a variety of words.  Uses conventional spelling to write some words (CVC and basic sight words).  Writes, Draws and Dictates about a variety of topics, including his opinion, a description of something or a moment or event in his life.

Writing Activities

  • Label Things: Create labels with your child for different objects in your house. For example, different books, places for toys, foods or objects in the kitchen, or clothes. You or your child can write the names of the objects and your child can draw a picture to go along with it.
  • Guessing Games: Draw a picture and have your child guess the spelling of that word. Give your child a few letters in a word. For example show your child “_AT,” and ask him to make as many words as he can with it.
  • Create a Photo Album: When you take pictures of events or people ask your child to label the picture. Glue the picture to a piece of a paper so your child can write a description of the event, what happened, who was there, etc. If other people were involved in the event send them a copy!
  • Have a Letter Treasure Hunt: When you are in the car, at home or in the store, ask your child to find certain uppercase and lower case letters. She can keep a list of all the letters she finds and she can write them down as she finds them. 

Math

In most kindergarten classes, math is woven throughout the day’s activities. This is especially effective because math becomes more meaningful when it is experienced in real life contexts. Most importantly, your kindergartner will go beyond simply counting the numbers to understanding what numbers represent and actively use them to represent quantities. Daily kindergarten math activities include learning numbers, practicing counting, addition and subtraction and learning concepts of time, measurement, and categorization. In addition, playing with puzzles, building toys, blocks and games help kindergarteners practice and build math skills in an enjoyable and engaging way, making their learning more meaningful and effective.

In order to build math skills, your kindergartner:

Understands that numbers represent quantity and uses them to do so.
Counts and writes numbers, from 1-20 (and potentially higher).
Counts out and compare quantities, usually up to 20.
Counts out and groups objects in order to solve single-digit addition and subtraction problems.
Begins to recognize and understand the meaning of the plus and minus signs.
Uses drawings, objects, actions and sounds to represent and practice addition and subtraction.
Practices beginning measurement and graphing skills, often through the creation of class-wide graphs, such as graphing favorite snacks, or how kids get to school.
Learns about and begin to count to 100, specifically through a tallying of the days of school and a celebration on the 100th day of school. (Many but not all kindergarten classes do something like this).
Creates patterns.

Math Activities

Cook with Patterns: Patterns can be used in lots of cooking. Make patterns with cereal necklaces, decorate cookies, make layered sandwiches with bread or crackers or make simple patterns using your child’s favorite colored candies.
Tell Math Stories: Use objects or even yourselves to practice addition and subtraction. If you have a bowl of 5 apples, ask your child to help figure out how many you will have left if you take away 3.
Build Things: Use blocks, Legos or any other building toys to construct houses, towers, vehicles etc. As your child builds, ask him to count pieces, create patterns, and talk about the shapes.
Take a Poll: Ask family members a question and create a graph of the answers using numbers and pictures.
Find the Sizes in Nature: Go outside and collect things in nature such as leaves, stones, and pinecones. After you’ve collected things, count how many things you found and then talk about their sizes, which are larger, smaller and the largest and smallest. You can even add together objects that are the same (for example,  all of the leaves). 

Social Studies

Social Studies learning in a kindergarten classroom occurs throughout the day beginning with a class meeting, (often called “morning meeting” or “circle time”) at the start of the day. During this time, many classes review the calendar and the weather, the number of days of school, as well as any other “class news” for the day. Students may also share their own news during this time. Social studies continues throughout the day as kindergartners follow classroom rules, build their social skills, interacting with each other and learning to share, take turns, and how to work together, ultimately helping them become successful students and classroom citizens. In addition, most kindergarten classrooms include teaching children about their communities, outside of their home and the American holidays. 

In order to build social studies skills, your kindergartner:

Works in groups, sharing and taking turns.
Develops conflict resolution skills.
Develops communication and conversation skills.
Learns about his community, outside of his home.
Learns about the calendar.
Learns about American holidays.

 Social Studies Activities

Study Your Community: Walk around your local neighborhood and take pictures of, draw pictures of and help your child write about what she notices. Encourage your child to talk to different people in the community and ask them questions. Then make a poster or short book about your town. Your child can then send this info to a friend or family member who lives somewhere else.
Take a trip: Compare your own town and community to ones around you. If you live in a city, visit a more rural or suburban area. If you live in a rural area or suburb, visit a city. Talk about the differences and similarities or make a chart of them.
Act it Out: Use role play to help your child work on his conflict resolution skills. Act out small situations of conflict such as: what happens if someone is playing with a toy you want or what happens if you don’t agree with someone about something. Help your child figure out specific strategies he can use in different situations.
Make a Group Plan: Work with other family members or friends on a specific task such as cleaning up a yard or room, or cooking or setting up a meal or party. Assign everyone specific roles and figure out how to work together in the best way possible.