June 5, 2019 - A little more than half of Duval students entering kindergarten last year were “ready for kindergarten” according to the Florida Department of Education.
This is not a number that sits well with Sonya McSwain. In an interview, the Director of Early Childhood Education for the district emphasized how important a successful kindergarten year was for a student’s entire academic journey.
McSwain shares five recommendations for parents to help get their child ready for kindergarten.
Prepare for the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS). FLKRS is a screening done within the first 30 days of kindergarten to ensure your child is ready for the school year. Students will be asked to be able to count to 31, do basic addition and subtraction up to 5, know all letter names and sounds, and answer reading comprehension questions. McSwain suggests that parents work with their child prior to entering kindergarten so they are ahead of the game.
Start working with your students on social skills and multi-step directions. For some students, kindergarten may be the first time where they are interacting with a large group of their peers. McSwain says it’s important to teach students social skills as well as conflict-resolution skills. These include sharing and saying please and thank you, so they can be prepared for interacting with other students in the classroom.
Start getting your child familiar with the classroom at home. One way to familiarize your child with a classroom – without leaving the home – is reading books to them about school and the classroom. McSwain suggest books like Llama Llama misses Mama. These books will help students become familiar and more comfortable with how to behave in a classroom before stepping foot into their school.
Alter your child’s sleep schedule to get them used to the school year. By doing this early on, your child will be more adjusted to the new schedule of going to school every day and falling asleep early to be prepared for the following day.
Take a walk around your child’s new classroom. First, register your child for kindergarten early, before the hustle and bustle of school. Follow the three easy steps to kindergarten registration here. Once they’re registered, make an appointment to visit the school, take them to their open house, and get to know their teacher and school environment before the school year starts. Ask administrators to walk around the classroom when registering for kindergarten, so your child can get a feel of what their school and their classroom will look like.
For additional information, parents and the community are invited to attend the Parent Academy’s “Tips for a Successful Transition to Kindergarten” on June 11 at 10 a.m. Register for the course here.