Page 27 - Scene Magazine 46-02 February 2021
P. 27

 differentiate between a
square and a rectangle, or a circle and
an oval. Learning to identify the differences is
a valuable observational skill. Fine motor skills can be developed by working with small objects, using scissors for cutting paper, tracing, coloring, and more. Being able to dress oneself and managing self-care needs like buttoning, zipping, and other skills needed to use the restroom independently becomes important as well. Finally, coming full circle to social skills, find ways for children to spend time together safely. Chances are, you’re already practicing many of the skills your child will need for school. And if there is a sibling at home then they have gotten a head start on learning to play together.
Of course, it’s important to recognize that not all children will have the same preparation and will need additional time before moving to kindergar- ten. If your child doesn’t already have the skills listed here when it’s time to enter kindergarten their teachers will work with them (and you) to help them to learn.
On the flip side, some kids accelerate academ- ically more quickly and may need additional stim- ulation and expanded opportunities for learning outside of the home but they lack the social skills to be effective in a classroom setting.
But there may be a better option in both of these cases. Enter the Young 5s kindergarten program. This program solves the challenge of ensuring that children enter the school system with adequate preparation for success by giving
them an
additional year for transition. Capacity in
this type of program is limited so it’s important to investigate this option early in the year.
A Young 5s kindergarten pro-
gram generally offers a develop-
mentally appropriate curriculum
designed for a child who has signifi-
cant needs and would benefit from
one more year of social, emotional,
and/or academic development prior to
starting traditional kindergarten. The
program is child-centered and provides additional time for growth through fun learning activities.
The Young 5s classroom builds on expanded preschool elements that work to prepare the child for their upcoming kindergarten experience. The Young 5s program implements an altered kin- dergarten curriculum while taking the necessary time to ensure students understand concepts at a developmentally appropriate pace.
The Young 5s classroom is an environment with a focus on speaking and listening experi- ences, letter identification, and sound and letter formation. The classroom includes experiences to support key literacy foundation in a play and sensory-based approach.
Students engage
daily in activities such as dramatic
play, circle time, reading, writing, math, and arts and crafts, as well as participate fully in weekly activities such as P.E., music, art, recess, and library time. The goal is to provide a safe, fun, and nurturing learning environment where all students can develop to their fullest potential
Several factors affect a child’s readiness to start kindergarten, including emotional, social, physical, developmental, home environments, preschool experience, and reading skills.
Outside learning experiences can also help your child to develop social, emotional, and academic skills without realizing it. Preschool programs, dance, gymnastic, bowling, swimming, and more can all be beneficial. An endless supply of free online learning and movement programs are readily available as well. You might even find that a Montessori program is a good choice for your young learner.
If you need additional assistance with pre- paring your child for school there are a variety of evidence-based, online learning programs that make learning fun for a fee. Reach out to your local school system for further support and direction.

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