Last January, USD 345 administration invited board members, staff, community preschool teachers, daycare providers, and other key players to talk about how we can ensure our students are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten. The event consisted of eight tables with representatives from the various groups at each table.
Board of Education Vice President Frank Henderson and Superintendent Dr. Noble welcomed the participants and gave brief introductions on the current operations in the district as well as the early learning initiative.
After some discussion questions led by Director of Elementary Education Annie Diederich, the tables were given time to answer the two questions, “What is kindergarten readiness?” and “How do we ensure all students in USD 345 are kindergarten ready?”
Last month, Annie Diederich reported a summary of findings to the board. Here are some common themes broken down from our community conversation.
WHAT IS KINDERGARTEN READINESS?
Sharing and taking turns, empathy, self-help skills, interacts well & gets along with others, develops friendships, one-on-one play, cooperative play skills, spatial awareness, conversational skills, waiting patiently, transitions easily, citizenship, flexible
Focus/attention span, can listen to a story, counting, a sense of numbers, 1:1 correspondence, pattern recognition, sorting, shows interest in learning, is curious, completes tasks, thinks logically, recognizes name, aware and exposure to rhyming words, basic shapes, basic colors, letter and number identification (beginning)
Sits still, uses the restroom, holds a pencil correctly, cuts with scissors
Manages own feelings/identifies emotions, handles separation, deals with conflict, controls responses, appropriate expressions, confident, not afraid of trying something new, mindset (mentally ready)
Follows simple, one or two step directions, communicates wants and needs, speaks clearly, ability to listen, uses words instead of actions
Adults ready to teach/help kids, accepting of all children, teachers understand developmental progressions, class size, transitional kindergarten, family engagement
HOW DO WE ENSURE EVERY CHILD IN USD 345 IS KINDERGARTEN READY?
Sharing more information with parents, community awareness, outreach, etc.
Improved access, transitional kindergarten, more openings and options
More partnerships with community preschool and daycare providers
Increase the knowledge and understanding of kindergarten readiness