Kindergarten Readiness

Kindergarten Readiness – Social Skills

 

There are many different theories on what a child needs to be successful in kindergarten.  At the preschool level we strive to make sure that each child is ready for the adjustment to a new school, new teacher and new friends.  Our goal is to make sure that each child walks away from our program with the skills needed to not just be successful in kindergarten, but for years to come.

In my eighteen years in the field of early childhood education one skill has remained consistent among kindergarten readiness and that is a child’s social skills.  Social skills involve not only a child’s ability to get along with others, but their ability to be independent.

How Giggle Gang fosters social skills:

  • Eating family style – By giving the children the opportunity to serve themselves and make decisions about what they are eating we are fostering their independence.
  • Encouraging conversations – There are times throughout the day where the teacher will start a conversation with a group of children and then sit back to see where it goes.  By doing this they are fostering the skill of communication.  The children learn to both share, but also listen to what others have to say.  During these conversations the children have the opportunity to express their opinions, feelings and favorite things.
  • Classroom rules – At the beginning of every school year the children sit down with the teacher and create a list of classroom rules and the consequences for disregarding a rule.  These rules are revisited throughout the year as new children enter the classroom, or the need for an adjustment to the rules is deemed necessary.  This gives the children a sense of ownership over the classroom and teaches them the reasons behind rules, and the importance of following them.
  • Conflict resolution – Each classroom has a system for handling conflict between the children.  This system shows the children how to be respectful of each other while voicing their concerns and feelings.  As the year progresses the teacher slowly pulls away from mediating the conflict as the children become more proficient at coming to resolutions on their own.
  • Centers – During the day the children have a period of time called choice time.  During this time they have access to several of the centers within the classroom.  They are given the choice of where they would like to “work” during this time.  Each center is equipped to hold up to four children at a time.  When there are too many children at the center the children have the opportunity to sign up to be next.  This teaches the children patience and the importance of waiting their turn.  Sometimes this can be difficult in the beginning, but as the year progresses the children become used to waiting their turn and are observant to where there is room to participate while they are waiting.
  • Interactions – Our teachers spend the majority of their time interacting with the children in their classroom.  The teachers participate with the children while letting them lead their play.  During these times the teacher becomes a model for the children as she shares, converses and follows the directions of others.

 

Over the next few weeks I will be delving into the other skills that have been proven to be conducive to kindergarten success and how we incorporate these skills into the children’s everyday learning so that they are ready to be a success in kindergarten and beyond.

Social-Emotional Interactions with Infants

Giggle Gang Families,

We strive to offer appropriate social- emotional interactions between our Teachers and children in each program. These interactions are vital to all programs but more so a significant part of each infant’s brain development. From birth to one the brain is growing more rapidly than any other time in life”(CCM, BCAL-Pub-37 ).  According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, quality care is about relationships. Studies have been found to show that “Infants learn trust through daily interactions with caregivers.  During the course of an infant’s day, routine tasks offer opportunities for caregivers to be especially attentive to an infant’s basic needs”(CCM, BCAL-Pub-37 ). The connections are made when our teachers interact during daily routines of talking, smiling, soothing, reading stories and encouraging eye contact. We love to play at Giggle Gang and encourage this with your child to develop, learn and grow. Some activities that help with development are quick and easy such as showing a child how to pick up and shake an object, recognize their own image in a mirror, clap their hands together to make a sound or just blinking their eyes by mimicking. “Simple play stimulates the development of positive brain connections that allows later play skills to become more complex. Play is one of the most important ways infants learn about their world”(CCM, BCAL-Pub-37). So as you drop off your infant this month think about all the wonderful milestones they will achieve just by being a part of our Giggle Gang family!

What you can do as a Parent to encourage Brain development at home:

1. Hold and cuddle infants: Warm nurturing touch not only supports critical

bonding that leads to attachment, it also generates

brain connections that support every area of infant

development. the balance sensors located behind the ear

(vestibular system).

2. Slow and gentle dances: that include up and down, side-to-side and

back and forth movements are most effective

in comforting a crying infant.

3. Swinging: This can be incorporated by using

either an infant swing or holding the infant while

swaying on a swing or glider. Rocking is also a

great way to incorporate a swinging motion.

4. Take a walk: Take the infant for a walk outside or

put her in an infant carrier to be walked around

the house. This stimulates the movement she

experienced while in the womb.

5.  Roll on a ball: Kneel on the floor and drape

the baby tummy-down on a beach ball.

6. Engage in uninterrupted play every day.

7. Use daily routines as a time to connect.

HAPPY PLAYING!!!

Erika Webber-Director

 

 

Resources:

Michigan Child Care Matters,Issue 85  BCAL-Pub-37 (Rev.7-09) www.michigan.gov/michildcare

Mary Mackrain, Child Care Expulsion Prevention Program and Training Director: FOR NOW AND FOREVER BUILDING INFANT SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH ,BCAL-Pub-37 (Rev.7-09)

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