Hear from Democracy Prep teachers and a parent on what to consider when choosing an excellent Kindergarten program.
School is starting up, and you are preparing to be a Kindergarten parent. You have a thousand questions going through your mind. One in particular might be, “What should I look for in a kindergarten program?” Let me help guide you through some important topics.
The school should have a strong curriculum that focuses on the child holistically, including their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills. It’s important to realize that standards vary throughout districts. Finding the perfect fit to reach your scholar’s milestones in life and instill a love for learning at a young age is crucial.
Here are some skills you should look for in a kindergarten program:
Social and Emotional Skills
A curriculum should allow time for social and emotional needs, including:
• Learning more about their peers around them through cooperative learning
• Self-control skills, such as being a good listener, speaker, and how to respond to others
• Following directions
• Becoming respectful and generous to others
• Establishing trusting and strong relationships
• Having independence and choice
• Self-help skills
Reading and Writing
A reading and writing program should have an awareness of early literacy skills, including:
• Identifying all consonant and vowel letter sounds
• Identifying uppercase and lowercase letters
• Rhyming words
• Reading and writing 100 sight words
• Writing their first and last name
• Phonemic awareness
• Segmenting and blending consonant-vowel-consonant words
• Writing simple sentences with correct punctuation
• Identifying a variety of genres: informational, personal narratives, realistic fiction, poems, etc.
A math program should allow scholars to think critically about being problem solvers and include skills like:
• Identifying basic 2-D and 3-D shapes
• Being able to copy and complete patterns
• Sorting objects into groups by their properties’ size, color, and shape
• Understanding terms greater than, more than, less than, or equal to
• Basic addition and subtraction
• Counting by 1’s to 100, counting by 10s, and writing numbers to 100
• Recognizing numbers up to 20 or more
• Identifying coins
Science and Social Studies
Science and social studies curriculum should include building skills such as:
• Exploring the world through senses, observations, and experiments
• Making connections within the world around them
• Living and nonliving things
• Learning about the change in weather and seasons
• Earth materials
• Community helpers
Kindergarten is an exciting opportunity to set your scholar up for academic success in their present and future education. It is the beginning of a solid foundation where scholars can grow and learn to be successful.
As a kindergarten teacher for eight years, and as a mom to a five year old, I know how crucial it is to find the right school for your child. You want a school that is not only going to push them academically, but a program that will tend to your child’s social and emotional needs.
When enrolling your child in kindergarten, be prepared to build a partnership with your child’s teacher. Open communication will allow you to know which areas your child is excelling in and where you can further support them. Be prepared to help your child with their homework every night, because it is tied to the work that has been done throughout the school day.
At Democracy Prep, you can expect your child to end the school year reading Level C-D books, compose stories using complete sentences, and know how to count by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s all the way to 100. They are solving story problems that require them to divide and multiply using strategies taught in class. They are gaining social-emotional skills by learning how to problem-solve with their classmates if a conflict arises. They are also taught exercises to use when they’re feeling frustrated, and they learn the meaning of responsibility by participating in daily greetings and completing their classroom jobs.
Kindergarten is the first year your child is fully immersed in a school environment all day, and the skills they learn will support them for the rest of their academic journey. Ensuring your chosen Kindergarten program has a combination of rigorous academics and social emotional learning will give your child a solid foundation for their success.
-Kindergarten Teacher and Parent