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‘Kindergarten, Here I Come’

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By Debra Ramey

Even in this day and age, when many children get their feet wet in preschool, not all kids are prepared for kindergarten. The 2013 Early Childhood Profile indicated in 2012 only 27 percent of the preschoolers entering kindergarten in LaRue County were actually “kindergarten ready.” The remaining 73 percent were considered to be kindergarten ready with support from their teachers.
Melissa Pearman, Hodgenville Elementary School Family Resource Center Coordinator, recognized the need to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten and, as a result, three years ago created a kindergarten readiness program called “Kindergarten, Here I Come” (KHIC).
“This program is the next step to Wee Time,” Pearman said. “We will meet every other Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Hodgenville Elementary School. It is a free program for children that will start kindergarten in the fall.”
Wee Time is a weekly program for ages 2 to 4.
Preschool and kindergarten used to be all about dress up and finger paint, but recent changes in curriculum in the elementary schools have changed that. The pressure felt in elementary schools for greater academic gains have been pushed down to kindergarten, leaving parents and teachers alike stressed about what young children need to accomplish in preschool.
What do children really need to know to be prepared for elementary school?
“KHIC will focus on the skills needed to start kindergarten,” said Pearman, “such as, knowing the alphabet, writing their name, beginning reading skills, rhyming, learning some sight words, counting, and knowing basic colors and shapes. You will be amazed that by the last session of KHIC, each child will be able to read a simple book.”
Each child will also have fun exercises to bring home that will reinforce what they learned that day.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before sending your child off to kindergarten:  

  •  Does your child use words when angry instead of being physical? Can he or she follow simple one- or two-step directions? Can he or she play well with other children including sharing and taking turns? These qualities are all essential for children entering kindergarten.
  •  Can your child hold scissors properly? Hold a pencil correctly? Put a puzzle together? Can he or she button/unbutton his or her clothes? These tasks involve fine motor skills. If your child can’t do these fine motor tasks, it means that they may have a harder time with the activities that typically occur in kindergarten classrooms – like art projects and learning to write.
  •  Does your child tell stories? Can he or she count to 20 and recite the alphabet? Can he or she write both upper and lower case letters? Does he or she speak in sentences of five words or more? Can he or she recognize basic colors? Can he or she write his or her name?
  •  Kindergarten will build upon these skills, but a child should enter with some of them already in place and that’s how KHIC, Wee Time or another preschool can help.

For more information regarding KHIC, call Pearman at 270-358-3506.