This week Rockdale Elementary School has the spotlight, and RES Principal has given the Kindergarten teachers the opportunity to share what is going on with their students this year.
Although kindergarten is commonplace today, the important role kindergarten plays for a student’s long term educational success is often misunderstood. Kindergarten is the place where we develop and foster a child’s love for learning, as well as where they develop the necessary knowledge and skills to set them up for future academic success. During this vital year of a child’s education, we learn and practice essential social, emotional, problem-solving and study skills children will use throughout their schooling. Kindergarten in 2020 is not the kindergarten that many of us remember— it is no longer a time of free play, learning colors and shapes, and naptime. Although we are integrating children into the school setting and teaching important social and emotional skills, the academic expectations are extremely high and ever-increasing with each passing year. Kindergarten students are expected to be able to read, write complete sentences, add and subtract, and understand a variety of science concepts. Each morning we hit the ground running and have a schedule jam-packed with learning. Here is an example of our kindergarten schedule:
7:50-8:10: Unpack & Morning Message
12:55-1:25: Tiger Time/Intervention
1:25-2:00: Science & Social Studies
2:00-2:45: Specials (PE, Fine Arts & Library)
2:45-3:15: Snack, Pack Up, & Reflection
As you can see we are working on academic skills all day while meeting their physical, social, and emotional needs. Without a solid foundation from their kindergarten year, students will have a difficult time being successful in subsequent years when the rigor and academic demands increase.
You may be wondering about the kindergarten team at RES. Our kindergarten team is comprised of great teachers with varied backgrounds and many years of experience, but we cannot do it all on our own. There are many things that you can do at home that will increase your child’s chances of success. Most importantly, read to or with your child. The most important activity for preparing your child to succeed as a reader than reading aloud together. This can begin when your child is just an infant, but does not need to stop once your child begins learning to read. You should continue to read to your child, have them read to you or even share the reading as they become a reader. As you read, make sure that you are having conversations with your child about what you read and ask them questions which makes them recall facts, deepen their understanding of new vocabulary, and problem solve by inferring things that may not be directly stated.
Along with reading to your child, it is also important that you give your child a sense of independence. Even though they are only 5 years old, kids can be given simple tasks like picking out their clothes, setting the table, or matching socks. These small tasks foster a child’s sense of independence, boost their confidence in their abilities, and give them an edge when they come to school and face the many demands and academic tasks.
Lastly, make school a priority in your home. It is very important for children to have a positive image of school. This includes making sure that your child gets a good night's sleep so they are prepared for their day. Also, talk to your child about what they are learning and look at the items that come home. If your child has homework, make its completion a priority. We don’t send homework to just give kids something to do, but rather to practice and hone the skills they have previously learned. We are so appreciative of all the support that we are given by our awesome parents!!
Even though our priority is teaching the whole child the skills they need for future success, that does not come without some fun! Many of our daily activities are hands-on that keep our kids moving and engaged. We also enjoy special days to extend our learning like Thanksgiving & Christmas rotations, Polar Express Day, the 100th day of school, Easter egg hunt, and Earth Day activities. In addition, some of our best memories come from our school-wide Field Day in the spring where we get to participate in ball races, relays, and a ton of other fun activities and our annual field trip to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco! This year we are starting a new tradition and our students will be performing in a program, “Once Upon a Time in Kindergarten” filled with scenes from some of our favorite fairy tales. We hope you will all be able to attend.
We are looking forward to an amazing second semester in kindergarten!