Kindergarten Readiness Checklist for Parents

Firstly – an important distinction for our international audience!

Different countries refer to the education of a child at 5 years old using conflicting terms.

In the US, children usually attend Kindergarten for one year from the age of 5, and go on to 1st Grade and the rest of their schooling following this.

However in countries like New Zealand, Kindergarten is usually the term for pre-school activity as a 3-4 year old which takes place prior to starting school – and Primary Schooling begins with Year 1 at the age of 5.

Today we’ll be referring to this initial phase of our children’s education from the age of 5 as kindergarten which I’m sure will be most familiar to the majority of our community.

Now before we get to my Kindergarten Readiness Checklist, let’s cover some questions parents have asked me over the years, about how best to prepare their children…

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DIY Busy Board for Toddlers

Preschoolers just love to let their curiosity get the better of them, as any parent can attest to!

Their relentless exploration of their environment does actually play a big part in brain development in a multitude of ways – from problem solving and imagination, to fine motor skills, and everything in between.

I know our little toddler is no exception, and she’s forever roaming the house fiddling with latches, jiggling door knobs, pressing buttons, and more around our house.

So, let’s embrace that, and use the very same instinct for good 🙂

We can attach a whole bunch of items onto a wooden board for her to play with any time – and without danger of breaking anything around our home!

Today we’re going to build a DIY busy board (also known as an activity board, sensory board, Montessori board and many other names it turns out!), using only free bits and pieces I can find around the house.

Total cost? $0.

Now that is what I would call rare when it comes to must-have toddler items. 🙂

So, let’s get started…

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Child using crayons

Cultural Activities for Kids

The World around us is a vast and interesting place! There are so many people, cultures, customs, foods, animals and languages to learn about.

Having had a love of travel and learning about other countries since I was was young, I have always incorporated learning about the World into my classroom program.

I’ve found time and time again that even the newest 5 year old is excited to learn about the World around them! Feedback from parents has been really positive and many have commented they wished they had done this kind of learning at school.

So let’s look at some fun and effective ways I’ve found to help my classes learn about the wider World…

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Home Learning : Story Writing Prompts

A child enjoying writing a story can be a tremendously powerful thing – not only for that child’s continued development, but equally for a parent or teacher wanting to support the child. 

This is true whether the child is writing a story in a school classroom, or in their home.

It is through writing stories that children can build on their love of reading, helping improve literacy and use of language, while taking advantage of the wellspring of imagination and wonder that children have from an early age.

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10 Fascinating Places Picture Prompts (with PDFs)

Your students can explore this collection of weird and wonderful places, to help inspire their spoken stories and writing – and encourage some future budding authors along the way no doubt!

I’ve created these 10 picture prompts for you to use for free with your classroom. There are many ways to make use of them.

You can view them here on the website, or download the PDFs and print – or put on the big screen for your class.

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10 Animal Picture Prompts (with PDFs)

Children often have vivid imaginations, but give them a photo of an interesting animal and watch how quickly they can build a story around it!

This makes animal picture prompts a fantastic teaching resource. We can use them as highly engaging story starters – even for children who aren’t usually enthusiastic writers or story tellers.

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Using Sight Words To Help 5 Year Olds Read And Write

Learning to read and write can be an exciting part of starting school for a 5
year old! It feels like you’re a big kid when you can recognize words in a book and write some down all by yourself.

Sometimes though, these things can be a bit challenging for some and we need to find ways for these children to have success. I have found repetition and presenting the learning in a fun way has been most successful.

Also, explaining to the children why they are learning these words. E.g. We are learning these words so that when it comes to writing time you will be able to use them.

Teaching my class to read

Recently in my class of 5 year olds I have been working with a group who needed a boost with their sight word recognition to help their reading progress and some spelling work so that they could attempt to write independently.

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Empatico – Collaborate with classrooms around the world

Very often in life, whether as an adult or a child, I believe it is a human connection with someone which leads to a deeper understanding in a particular area or world view.

Something which can limit this of course is that we often spend the majority of our lives surrounded by people very similar to ourselves – usually people living in our immediate vicinity – often sharing the same native language, similar way of life, and so on. I’m sure you’re familiar with this concept.

An example of this is a child growing up in an affluent suburb in an English speaking first-world country, who has many opportunities in education and lifestyle, but might not have any direct connection with children in a very different location and circumstance.

The good news is that using free technology it is now more possible than ever before to put your students in direct contact with a class of students in a far away country, and watch their understanding and curiosity about the wider world grow in leaps and bounds!

I’ve had direct experience of this, and it is wonderful to see the engagement and enthusiasm from the kids, who just can’t wait to speak with their new found friends in another country – exclaiming as they learn about the wild animals that live nearby, and the everyday things which seem so very foreign and interesting.

Today I interview Christina from Empatico about who they are, and what makes them tick!

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Interactive Stories for Kids

I’m sure you would have seen that in the classroom there are few things more captivating for children than a story full of adventure (and ideally, animals)!

Going beyond the written word, I’ve found that there are many fantastic engaging uses for online interactive stories – especially stories which are full of great characters and sounds to draw in even the least enthusiastic readers.

Today I’m going to show you some of my go-to interactive stories for my primary school students, and how I love to make the most of them…

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Spelling Quiz – 20 Common Misspellings

It’s time for you to take my free spelling quiz, and see how you do!

We have here 20 words and their common misspellings.

Share with your friends and colleagues how you do and challenge them! (I made the quiz and only got 19 right – see if you can beat me!)

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