Another peek into our 1st Family Vacation!
Another peek into our 1st Family Vacation!
In the midst of the two really long post Getting Ready for Kindergarten-An Overview and Getting Ready for Kindergarten-Professionals weigh in on what a Kindergartner should know. I thought it would be helpful to have a simple list of skills a child needs. Simple here is italicized because if you know me-nothing I do can be quite simple, so rather I present you with a detailed list of skills, organized by content area, collected from the Arizona State Standards.
Don’t be alarmed as you read through you will began to notice your child is probably already doing many of these things, and keep in mind, I did not list all of the items this is just a snap shot of the items listed in the Arizona State Standards.
Language and Literacy:
Gross & Fine Motor Development:
In the next post I will share my tips for an Easy Transition to Kindergarten and later my Top 5 things needed for Kindergarten as well as great resources.
This is a heavy post, but I think it will hopefully help parents navigate what their child needs to know before kindergarten.
As an Early Childhood Major I had the wonderful experience of being in the classroom as part of my training. I was placed in a private school in a Pre-K setting, and in a public school, in a Kindergarten classroom. I really wanted to share with you all-from a professional in the fields eyes what is expected of your child because being out of the classroom for 2 years now, I am feeling really anxious about kindergarten readiness. I can’t wait to ease your mind and help you prepare your child. I was able to connect with a Home Visitor for Early Head Start (I also worked as an Early Head Start teacher for 7 months), a Pre-K Teacher, a Kindergarten Aid, and a Kindergarten teacher to bring you what a is expected of your incoming student.
In order to collect the information from these professionals I created a questionnaire for them to fill out. Below you will find the questions along with the results and then my thoughts on them based on what I learned from the Arizona State Standards.
Should they be able to write their name? On this question I had 3/4 Yes’s. One stated it was not mandatory, but it is according to Arizona state standards because the work they will complete must have their name. Their cubby, or coat rack will have their name, and they must be able to know where those things are located. When finding something that belongs to them after recess (*reminder* Label Everything) they must be able to read their name. Below are three great ideas to help children learn their name. 1. Rainbow Names from Mama’s Like Me. 2. Rock your Socks from Time to Play and 3. Learning your Name from Pickle Bums.
How high should they be able to count? On this question I got two answers 20 and 10 at least. I think aiming for 20 is safe, because according to Arizona state standards they should be able to count to 10 by end of preschool, but getting to 20 is what kids struggle with the most. They must also know the numerals so practice with the numbers in print as well.
Should they be able to sing the ABC’s? I received 2 yes’s and 2 no’s. I believe because in the state standards it says a child should be able to identify 10 letters, no the difference between a letter and a number, and know 10 letter sounds. For example if I asked Sadie “What is the first sound in your name?” she would be able to make the “ssss” sound. I would focus on the letters in the child’s name then build from there like the letter in their favorite shape, color, and the letters in Mom, Dad, and family member’s names. Never do the standards talk about singing the ABC’s, but rather they focus on the fundamentals of the ABC’s.
Should they be able to write the ABC’s? I received 1 yes and 3 no’s. I did cover a little of this in the previous question, but as far as writing goes they are not required to know how to write their ABC’s, but must know how to write their own name, hold a pencil correctly, and know that print is written from left to right.
Should they be able to name shapes? I received all yes’s. The state standards are pretty clear as well as the professionals, they must know basic 2 dimensional shapes and their characteristics such as 4 sides and 3 corners/points. Below is a poster with some shapes to start with, and this Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Clock was one of Sadie’s favorite toys! I love that this toys covers colors, shapes, and numbers.
Should they be able to draw shapes? I received 2 yes’s and 2 “It would be nice, but it is not mandatory”. According to state standards they must be able to draw basic shapes as well, and trust me once you have introduced the shapes through play, started pointing them out in their surroundings, (they will happily do the same-every time we passed a stop sign, Mommy, Mommy look an octagon), as well as start drawing them out of interest. I love this activity from Teaching Boys because it is hands on which kids LOVE, messy (of course they love messy), and great for learning. It can also be done inside of a dollar store cookie sheet for minimal mess.
Should they know the colors? In this question I received all yes’s. Likewise the standards never address colors specifically but in the science standards it states children “must be able to describe objects color, position, roundness, shape,
size, number of corners, etc.”
Should they know how to use scissors? I received one yes and 3 “It would be nice, but it is not mandatory”. In the Arizona State Standards I did not find anywhere that it stated a child must be able to use a pair of scissors by the end of preschool, but it did state under the fine arts strand that a child must be able to “use a variety of materials/media, tools and techniques to create original works of art”.
What other task do you think a kindergartener should be prepared with? One teacher said, “Proper pencil grip is the most important thing they can learn before kindergarten.” Another stated, “Phonics. Sounds of letters. Beginning easy reading. 1-2 word sentences with 8 pages. Bob’s Books are great.” Another stated, “Know left from right, body parts, birthday, phone number, and address. Those are a big plus when starting. Personal space and boundaries is a big one too.”
What would you like to see during story time and what can parents do to help prepare their children for that expectation? One teacher said, “I believe during story time children should be able to sit and at least enjoy the story. Parents should read with their children often so they develop an interest in stories.”
What would you like to see at recess and how can parents help prepare their children for that? One teacher said, “Children who can play well together. Parents can expose their children to play experiences with other children their child’s age.”
What would you like to see at lunch and how can parents help their children be ready for that? One teacher said, “Send lunches they can (and will) eat with in the allotted time. Send ready to eat food. Warming up foods is okay (in some schools) but it limits their time to eat their food (because of lines). You want them to have a full stomach so they have the energy to learn.”
What other tips or suggestions would you give to parents to help them make sure their child is successful in kindergarten? One teacher said, “Be patient & communicate with the teacher often. Work on what the teacher is working on at home.” Another said, ” Make sure they know the school and feel comfortable about where they are going to spend their day. If your school allows it have them meet the teacher, have them ask questions, talk about their fears, send them notes in their lunches.”
As you can see a Teacher’s expectations vary from school to school which is why I wanted to add in the State Standards.
I would love to thank all the professionals in the field who so generously gave their time to fill out my questionnaire, and share with us their experience and knowledge.
A special thanks to:
Preschool Teacher at
Also be sure to check out Donor’s Choose and help sponsor a Teacher in need.
I am so happy to introduce you all to Fundanoodle, a new company that is changing the way we prepare our children for educational success! Fundanoodle’s products range from writing tablets to multi-activity kits, all designed to make learning a fun and interactive experience. Kids will have so much fun they won’t realize how much they’re learning! Fundanoodle products range from $8.99 to $32.99. My favorite perk-they offer FREE ground shipping on all orders-I love free shipping!
I had the pleasure of reviewing the I Can Build Upper Case Letters Kit and I Can Build Lower Case Letters Kit with the girls. These kits really come with everything you need to help your child learn the letters, but the best part is they won’t only be learning their letters, but other important skills as well I will highlight below.
This is what your kit will look like when you open it up-it’s like Christmas so many fun bright things to do the girls and I were so excited to get into it and play. It comes with a magnetic dry erase board, 14 magnetic sticks, one dry erase marker, one writing tablet, and one set of gross motor cards.
These are the gross motor cards you get in your kit. You lay them out with the numbers facing up, the child rolls the dice, and then they pick up the card that has the same number they rolled. The card has an animal and movement that they must now mimic. They really loved this activity and I did too because they practiced taking turns, fine motor skills when picking up the dice and then rolling it, and they also practiced counting and number recognition. They even practiced gross motor skills and did some heavy muscle work that really helps them be able to calm down and focus later on while learning.
She rolled#4 then we counted the cards until we got to #4. She flipped the #4 card over and got the Kangaroo, and then they are hopped around the living room like Kangaroos!
The next activity we did was letter building Sadie could not wait to build letters while Cay, younger, could not wait to just get her hands on the magnets and build pictures. They are 14 months apart and really at different stages. Sadie was able to really build almost every letter from memory. Caydence was able to copy Sadie’s letters and then we would take turns thinking of a word that started with that letter.
They began working together to build the letters. I would tell Caydence which color pieces she needed and how many, then Cay would hand them to Sadie who would build them. We did a little more than half of the letters then their attention span was burnt out and that’s okay I let them each make the first letter in their names, then their favorite shapes, then free play. They really enjoyed it. During this activity they practiced fine motor skills picking up and placing the magnets, memory recall, letter recognition and naming, naming colors, counting, and practiced beginning sounds.
The instruction page talks about the letter sequence which they selected based on the child’s development of visual and motor skills. It also gives key words to use when describing to your child how to write each letter. These key words are used in the instructions, given by Max on each page, on how to write the letters. Plus each page has a spot to place a sticker once completed which is a great motivator for my girls!
I would like to talk about the durability of this product, because I feel this company really took the time to create a product that is truly designed for use by children. The magnets are very sturdy and durable. The board is well built and strong. The cards are also coated with a glossy finish which add another layer of durability.
The I Can Build Lower Case Letter Kit Sadie is ready for, but I think it would confuse Caydence right now. This is what your kit will look like when you open it up. It comes with a magnetic dry erase board, 17 magnetic sticks, one dry erase marker, one writing tablet, and one set of gross motor cards. In order to keep this post shorter I will just focus on the first kit but the second is just as wonderful just focuses on lowercase letter.
Thanks to Fundanoodle you all have the opportunity to win these kits for the children in your life!
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This school year I am hoping to send the kids to school with more lunches from home. I have been searching for ideas and I can’t wait to share what I found! My first goal was to add more fruits and veggies that the kids will want to eat. Below are ideas I think are perfect for accomplishing this goal.
Aren’t these fruit ideas great! I love how pinterest, can pretty much solve any of my food dilemmas!
The next thing on my wishlist are these Alphabet Cookie Cutters-they are SO CUTE!
I was able to snag these Flower Vegetable Cutters and these Freshware 12-Pack Square Silicone Reusable Baking Cups that I am going to use to spruce up the kids lunch.
Plus I found a ton of great veggie ideas on pinterest too.
Now the next goal was allowing a little more freedom for the older children and if you have a few older kids like I do, then they will probably want to pack their own lunch. (Then remind you to add the treat.) Here are some great graphics to aid in their lunch packing.
This graphic was made by Kristen from Rage Against The Mini Van and can really help make sure kids don’t forget anything when packing their lunch.
This sandwich guide is super helpful in allowing kids options, but it still makes sure they cover all the basics. This graphic comes from Amy over at Super Healthy Kids.
Our kids normal lunch consist of a nitrate free meat, cheese, and bread. They are not big peanut butter fans, but they sure do love Nutella. Sadie really, really loves tuna salad so I will be adding that to my lunch routine for her. They usually pick a cookie cutter to cut their sandwich and that’s about all the cuteness they get as far as sandwiches go. I did find a few cute variations for this year though which was the last goal-to have a few more sandwich or non-sandwich ideas.
And when they get tired of sandwiches I found these Non-Sandwich ideas for their lunch boxes from Keeley McGuire.
I also came across this post from Kendra over at Biting the Hand that Feeds You with tons of pizza themed ideas I just know my pizza lovers will adore!
I hope you all are inspired to create fun festive lunches for your children! Thanks for stopping by! :)
Credit for these great ideas and photos that I used in the collages:
Where I will share my truths as a Mother & Stepmother.
My truths for today and a few questions.
I hope you all share your experiences with me.
Wishing you all a happy Thursday…well really Friday! :)
A peek at our 1st Family Vacation!
Happy Meatless Monday, I hope you find a great recipe to try this week in honor of Meatless Monday.
Today I am sharing more from Kalyn’s Kitchen. She creates and shares seasonal, low glycemic index meals for healthy eating, weight loss, and blood sugar control.
Starting at the left we have a Spicy Avocado in Pita which is totally something I would happily eat with refried pinto or black beans layered underneath the avocado.
The next recipe is Quinoa with mushrooms, green onions, and parmesan. This one, like many meatless Monday meals can easily be your new favorite side dish. I know I am going to test it out-it looks so good!
The top right is a great seasonal Veggie Stir-Fry. Kalyn gives a great intro into Chinese cooking before this recipe which is really helpful. I also love the amount of garlic this has too! I would love this over rice or noodles.
The last one I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY! It’s Stuffed Zucchini with brown rice, black beans, chiles, cheddar, and cotija cheese.
I hope you found something to you like!