School Readiness: What Really Matters?
When little ones begin kindergarten, whether that means going into the school classroom or a homeschool classroom, they are beginning their journey in both education and independence. Early childhood education is the first place students get to explore by themselves, discovering and learning new concepts with the guidance of a teacher and peers. They are also learning about themselves, as their personalities begin to come out more and more. It is a big step, which comes with excitement, as well as some anxiety. Making sure your little one is ready to start school is on every parent’s mind. “Do they know everything they need to know?” is one of the most common worries. Luckily, we have tips and tools about kindergarten readiness with early childhood educational indicators to put your mind at ease and best prepare your little one for the big move to kindergarten!
What does “ready” look like?
By the summer before kindergarten, most little ones have a solid grasp on the following skills:
Love of Learning: Every student is going to have a different relationship with school and learning, but it is beneficial that your little one has a positive attitude towards learning. If learning a certain concept or skill proves challenging for your little one, try new methods of exploring that topic in ways your little one does enjoy. This is an important indicator for kindergarten readiness.
Social-Emotional: Little ones are familiar with self-regulation, and have a general respect for people around them; peers, teachers, parents, etc.
Applying Knowledge: Students know their foundational basics (ABC’s, 123’s, and colors), and have begun applying that knowledge to exercises like word building and matching.
Thinking Creatively: Little ones have practiced exercising their imaginations and exploring different ways to solve problems and think critically.
Early childhood education programs focusing on school readiness tend to cover the above areas. Whether your little one is attending an in-person preschool program, preschool online, or homeschool preschool, any early childhood education program will help your little one with kindergarten readiness.
At Playgarden Prep, we follow the Montessori educational method, which covers foundational education, as well as encouraging self-exploration and meaningful play. Students get to explore through sensory activities, projects based on the letter of the week, and learn through songs and storybooks. Introducing little ones to the different ways we can learn shows them that if one way does not work for us, there is another way that will work. Practicing flexible thinking benefits future critical thinking and problem solving.
Playgarden Online offers worksheets and videos that let your little one prepare for the classroom from the comfort of home. Worksheets include exercises practicing pattern and letter recognition, finding similarities and differences, all with the help of teacher-led videos.
While worksheets and flashcards are beneficial tools, some young students in early childhood education need a bit more engagement for kindergarten readiness. Other videos as part of the Playgarden curriculum include STEM experiments, allowing for students to make observations, hypothesize, and watch science happen before their eyes. This engagement can benefit your little one’s critical thinking development.
The relationships your little one has with their first teachers are so special. I have been an enrichment teacher at Playgarden for over five years now, and seeing little ones create bonds with their peers and teachers is one of the most rewarding parts of this job. They learn to trust us and show us the same kindness that we show them. Knowing we are creating a space where little ones care about their teachers and friends makes us confident that they will go on to build caring and trusting relationships as they grow.
Learning at Home
The most beneficial activity you can do with your child is spending time with them and introducing them to the world around them. Play, talk, read, and engage with your little one. Ask them questions throughout the day and make learning a daily activity: “What do you see?”, “What animal is that?”, “I spy something that is the color blue!”, etc. Take adventures outside with them, whether that is a walk down the block, a trip to the zoo, or a sunny day at the beach. Explore places they are seeing for the first time and watch as they discover the world around them. Curious minds are a fantastic indicator of kindergarten readiness, and they make thoughtful and inquisitive students in all areas of early childhood education!
As long as your little one is practicing their basics and exploring the world around them, and the grown-ups in their life are providing support as their skills develop, there is no doubt they will be ready for kindergarten!
Hi, I'm Miss Julia!
Miss Julia has been an early childhood educator for 5 years, with over 10 years of experience working in childcare. She has been teaching at Playgarden Prep since 2017, and is happy to share ideas on some of her favorite early education topics with you! Miss Julia has a BA from UC Irvine, and uses her experience in performing arts to inspire little ones every day in her enrichment classes at Playgarden. In her free time, Miss Julia loves enjoying nature, cooking, and creating with friends.