5 Tips to Boost Kids’ Kindergarten Readiness in 15 Minutes or Less
A guest post by Kimberly Flack, Associate General Manager of Education at Eight, Arizona PBS
Google lists more than 8 million stories and resources online about school readiness, including the popularity and effectiveness of utilizing technology such as TV and iPads in helping parents prepare their kids for success in school. However, the technology gap still leaves out roughly 18 million people in the U.S. without televisions in their homes and a full 30% of homes with children who have no access to mobile devices, including tablets or smartphones.
With time at a premium for working parents, how can they be sure they have adequately prepared their child to begin school? A national survey recently released by PBS KIDS shows that five out of 10 parents worry their child won’t have the skills they need when they start elementary school.
Here are five easy tips, which don’t require access to technology, that parents can use to engage their kids and prepare them for entering school – transforming the home into a learning environment in less than 15 minutes:
1) Have your child help make a grocery list with you and encourage him or her to add colorful drawings of the fruits and vegetables. This builds the child’s connection between word sounds, spelling and object association, while also layering in opportunities for creativity and self-expression.
2) Label objects around the house, including appliances, fixtures and furniture, such as the refrigerator, door, table, couch, microwave, sink, bed, chair, clock, recycling bin, etc. This builds their visual recognition of common words, and helps with spelling, reading and phonics.
3) Have your child organize the family’s shoes by size, shape, color, etc. This builds their confidence in pattern recognition, and organization, as well as working with numbers.
4) Ask your child to make up a song to remember his or her address and phone number. This engages several parts of the brain, including both hemispheres, and builds neural pathways anchoring the information while exercising important skills.
5) Take your child on a walk or drive around the neighborhood to learn street signs, talk about their shapes and their meanings and have your child repeat back to you what they have learned. This gives them practice in memorization and more quality time together with you.
Kimberly Flack is the Associate General Manager for Education & Outreach at Eight, Arizona PBS (KAET – Phoenix). She provides professional development, participates in professional learning communities and conducts community outreach, both face-to-face throughout the state of Arizona and online, related to PBS resources. Kimberly serves as vice chair on the First Things First Southwest Maricopa Regional Council. Prior to joining the team at Eight in 2001, Kimberly taught special education inclusion and journalism for ten years. She has a Master’s in Arts in English and a Bachelor’s of Science in History and Special Education. She is also certified in English as a Second Language and experienced in teaching at the community college level. Kimberly has 4 children – ages 18, 16, and twins age 11 – and a husband who teaches high school IB and special education.