Integral Education: Strategic Challenges & Road-Map ahead (XI). Strategic Innovation in Education – Is your child ready for kindergarten? (Part G).
Is your child ready for kindergarten?
On today’s post, we will discuss the rationale behind the readiness of the kid to start kindergarten. Kindergarten is the beginning of the official “school” stage. After the child is 5 years old, they are independent enough in their self-help activities. “Once they start kindergarten, physical, social, and cognitive mental skills will develop quickly at this time. This is a critical time for children to develop confidence in all areas of life, such as through friends, schoolwork, and sports”. “Kindergarten is where most children learn to read and write. Being ready for kindergarten means having well-developed preschool skills, and being academically, socially, and physically ready for the transition”.
If your child is already 5 years old, he or she might be ready for kindergarten. When I was preparing this post, I thought how unfair is it to predetermine the child´s readiness for kindergarten based only on age. Even though not all schools do a kindergarten screening, it is fairly common nowadays. But I have seen kids which are ready to start kindergarten but are rejected by the school only because of the age. This benchmark is quite inappropriate for my personal taste. Some kids are ready in skills and maturity for Kindergarten before 5 years old, and others have to wait for some months more. Why do we have to trigger the entrance of children to kindergarten based on age? What about considering the development milestones accomplished by the kid´s brain in each level (physical, social, emotional, cognitive-thinking, purely academic and maturity) instead of the age only?
Let ´s continue.
Children are different; each kid on earth has a different process to learn and to develop his or her brain milestones. Before joining kindergarten, during the pre-school stages, each child will be exposed to many activities. The well-skilled educator is able to find what type of learning is more appealing to each kid. Through pre-school, the educator and the parents through observation will be able to bring to light what type of learning is natural or the primary one for each child. Remember, there are different types of learning. Moreover, each kid has a brain sensory alignment with one or more of these active or passive types of learning. For example, some kids learn by hearing words, they are verbal receivers: these kids have an acoustic learning style. Other children learn by watching, looking or observing at pictures or situations, which makes them visual learners. Other children are verbal learners which means they learn by talking, discussing, debating in public, doing theater plays, participating or explaining things to other kids. Other children learn by experiencing things, by exploring and doing. And for our benefit, the majority of kids learn by playing with other kids. Which means their learning style is all set by executing, making things to work out, or by sharing playful experiences, or when they get something done. Which type of natural learner is your kid? That is the first question adults have to know and understand during the pre-school stage, before attending kindergarten.
To comprehend what type of learner is your child is very useful for two reasons:
- The parents and adult direct educators can use the primary learning style, as an advantage, to activate a personalized learning process for each child.
- To facilitate and adjust a learning balance in other secondary learning styles, with a quick or slow pace. Each kid has a rhythm or pace to learn, and probably it will be slower using other secondary learning styles, which are not the main core natural one.
Just think about this, what can happen to a little girl who is a natural acoustic learner? She learns by listening to music or songs, or by hearing the voice of her mother or dad when they read her stories. This little girl triggers her cognitive thinking with acoustic listening. If educators and parents do not know it and force her to learn with visual activities, she is being forced to learn in a visual way that is not her primary natural core learning style. And probably the educator has to do some adjustments for her. It is critical to know at this age, the main learning style of the child, and also the secondary ones.
In addition, the maturity of the child is crucial to determine if he or she is prepared for kindergarten. ” In fact, children do mature at different speeds, and their level of maturity is just as important as their actual age in considering whether they are ready or not for kindergarten”.
According to an article, published by the Harvard Health Publishing e-Magazine, “the following list can help to measure the child’s readiness to start kindergarten. The article states to “don’t worry if your child cannot do all the items listed below, but it is important to understand that a child who is ready for kindergarten typically has most of these skills”.
- Cares for self (dressing, feeding, washing, using the toilet)
- Keeps track of own belongings (coat, school bag, lunch)
- Follows two-step instructions
- Works independently for short periods
- Knows own name and parents’ names
- Speaks clearly
- Carries on a conversation using basic sentences
- Identifies basic body parts (back, stomach, head, legs, etc.)
- Knows the names of common animals, foods and household products
- Identifies and names basic colors
- Understands the concept of same and different
- Understands the concept of first and last
- Knows some opposites
- Groups similar objects or pictures together
- Recognizes some letters (capitals and lower case)
- Counts items one by one, up to five or more objects. Some gifted kids are able to count to 100!
- Plays well with other children
- Requests things from an adult (for example, “May I go to the bathroom?”)
- Deals with some frustration and failure
- Accepts adult supervision and help
- Identifies the different measures of time (days, months, hours)
- Show more independence from parents and family
- Understand more about his or her place in the world
- Pay more attention to friendships and teamwork
- Want to be liked and accepted by friends”
Gross Motor Skills: run, stand and hop on one foot on each foot, skip, walk backward, throw and catch a large ball, kick a ball in a straight line, walk up and down stairs alternating feet.
Fine motor skills: Cut with safety scissors, holding them the right way. Fit pieces into a puzzle. Hold and use a pencil the correct way. Draw a straight line, a cross, a square, and a circle. Draw a person who has five body parts. Possibly write some letters and numbers, perhaps their name. Trace a variety of shapes, letters, and numbers.
This is all for today. Please remember, I am writing about these topics because it is good to connect the children education at these stages with the brain development needed for their future careers. Strategic innovation may be triggered in early childhood (since the baby is inside the mother´s womb). I am a believer in it. I am not a mom yet, but I have six nephews and nieces, and I have been near enough to observe their brain development. About scientific knowledge, I rely upon or trust experts childhood education sources for it. And I always give the credit to these sources. Thank you for your comprehension.
Stay tuned. We will continue with some reflection about the importance of integral education at kindergarten. It will be a reflection of the strategic innovation factors to consider for the future. Do not lose sight.
Good night, and blessings.
Source references utilized for this article:
Some photos from http://as-cosy-as-can-be.tumblr.com/
Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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