The New Ohio Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

If you have a child entering Kindergarten in Ohio this year or in the next couple of years, you have likely heard that schools are changing the assessment they use to determine a child’s school readiness. The original KRA-L only tested a child’s literacy and language development, but the new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment will look at the whole child.

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The new assessment will provide more information on the areas of physical well-being and motor development, language and literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and social skills. This is exciting because a child’s school readiness is more than just his knowledge of the ABCs or 123s. It also includes how well he can sit still for periods of time, talk with friends, share, verbalize his needs, etc.

This will be done through formal and informal observations of everyday activities and responses to questions or other activities. According to the Ohio Department of Education’s website, the assessment will not prevent a child from entering Kindergarten, but it will help the teachers provide a baseline so they can customize the learning experience for each child.

Click here for a checklist of the physical, emotional, and social skills you can use as a guide to determine where your child is. But keep in mind that every child develops at their own pace. It’s important to give them guidance to help learn these skills, but if they aren’t doing an activity quite yet, give it a week or so to see how they progress. This checklist does not include the academic skills children may need to know.

Physical, Emotional and Social Checklist: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Early-Learning/Guidance-About-Kindergarten/Kindergarten-Readiness-Checklist 

 

Learning to Sit Quietly and Be Patient

Sitting quietly and being patient are probably two of the hardest lessons to learn as a child adult human. Unfortunately, learning to read requires that we know how to sit still and for long periods of time. Sure, there are some great games we can play to help make the process more fun, but in the end, it’s the ability to sit still and sit quietly that can help the most.

So, how do you teach a three-year-old to sit and not make any noise? If you know the secret, please post in the comments below. I’m not writing to tell you all of the answers; however, I can share with you some tips to help your child learn these skills. These are just a few tips I have learned as a preschool and toddler teacher, a babysitter, and a librarian.

1. Make time each day or night to sit together in a comfortable place and read together. This can be the couch, a bean bag on the floor, a pile of pillows on the bed, or even at the kitchen table. Find a book your child likes and read it together. Let your child read to you (or make up the story as you turn the pages).

2. Limit screen time to a set amount of minutes a day or week. Promote quiet time–play quiet music in the background. It doesn’t have to be naptime. Let your child play quietly with puzzles, create a picture with art supplies, or read books by himself.

3. If you are in a room filled with people and your child starts to get fussy or restless, leave the room, but do not go far. Hold them (depending on their age)–the point here is that you do not want to teach them that if they cry or scream, they will get to leave the room and run around outside. Children are smarter than you might think. They catch on to these patterns incredibly quick!

4. Eat meals together at the table. Do not allow them to get up whenever they want. Just sit together, talk, and enjoy a meal together at least once a day.

5. Be patient. This is a habit learned over time, not over a few days.

Skills to Practice for Summertime Kindergarten Readiness

School will be starting before you know it, but we still have about one-half of our summer left–depending on when you start school. While summer is a time for relaxing and taking a break from studying, it’s also a great time to get your child ready for their first day of Kindergarten because there isn’t any pressure or deadlines.

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Lalymom has a great post on creative and fun ways to practice skills like learning personal information (phone numbers, address, name), following directions, getting dressed independently, strengthening those gross motor skills (running, jumping, etc.), understanding routines, writing and more! She has put together a great round-up of blog posts–so instead of duplicating her efforts, I’m going to post a link to her blog and ask you to stop by at some point this week.

And then I’m going to remind you to stop by your local library to check out a stack of books that you can read with your child to help get them ready to read and get them excited about school!

Monday is One Day

9780439789240Going to work, school, or the store can be hard–especially when you have to leave your children with another family member, teacher, or caregiver. Depending on where you are going, it could be hours before you are reunited. Young children can become very upset, nervous, or scared since they have little understanding of what “time” really is.

Monday is One Day by Arthur A Levine is a great picture book for young children that goes through the days of the week counting down until the week is over. The book features diverse families like grandparents raising a child, two men with a child, one father with a child, just a mom and a child, twins and their parents, etc.

The hardest part of going to work is being apart from you…

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While you aren’t always able to give your child 100% of your attention during the work week, the book highlights the little moments that can be made special just because you are together.

But by the end of the week, parent and child are able to unite for a fun day of relaxing and play.

And Sunday’s our fun day: A kiss and a cuddle, a dance in a puddle, a dinosaur huddle, a sweet family muddle!

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I hope you are able to enjoy at least one day a week with your child. Be sure to visit the library and check out this wonderful book. If you can’t make it on the weekend, make it one of those special moments together during the week.

Summer Fun Weekly Calendar

Every month, we post an activity calendar filled with ideas for you to keep laughing, playing, and reading throughout the month. But as I as looking for some new ideas, I came across a very simple calendar that you can keep on hand for those days that you just need one more thing to do to keep the children active and engaged.

This graphic comes from ReMarkableHome and is a free download. Just click the image to get the larger, printable version.

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Summer Reading Challenge

Have you signed up for the  summer reading challenge, yet? If you have, great! If you have not, what are you waiting for? We have made the program so simple this year–the only thing you your child has to do is read!

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If you have children birth to age 18, stop by one of your favorite Stark County District Library locations to sign up, and you’ll receive a map. Your child can mark on the map every day spent reading. There are categories for children birth to age 5 (read to me), age 5 through grade 5 (children), and grade 6 through grade 12 (teens).

For every five days read, make sure to bring your map back to the library to receive a coupon to a local restaurant like Chipotle, McDonald’s, Taggart’s, Chik-Fil-A, and Wendy’s–teens have other coupon choices as well! Once you reach 40 days read, you’ll receive a book and a coupon along with an entry into our grand prize drawing. If your child reaches 50 days read during the summer, she will receive a bonus book and coupon along with a second entry into the grand prize drawing. To add to the excitement of summer reading, anyone who registers and participates in the program will also have the opportunity to walk in the kick-off Hall of Fame Community Parade.  

This year, our theme is Fizz! Boom! Read! If you aren’t from Stark County, your local library may be doing the same theme (it’s a collaborative summer program). What does that mean? Many of our programs are themed around science and hands on activities this year. (I would definitely recommend visiting the Artful Science program–there’s bubbling glitter!)

Parents, don’t let your child fall behind this summer…keep reading every day to help them stay ahead when school starts.