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Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten!
North Grenville Public Library
WHAT: The Getting Ready for Kindergarten program started as a pilot project in September 2014. Our preschool (0-3) Early Literacy programs were full of 3 years who were ready for a program that provided them with some independence from their parents/caregivers and to assist them in developing a variety of skills to help them succeed in Kindergarten.
WHEN: The program runs for an hour each Monday and Tuesday morning. The sessions last about 10 weeks.
WHO: The program is open to 3 year olds who are eligible to attend Kindergarten the following September in Ontario. Exceptions have been made to include older children who, for various reasons did not attend Kindergarten when eligible.
HOW: A variety of activities are included: Gross and fine motor, imaginative and dramatic play, science exploration, math, language and art. Social and emotional development are strongly promoted. Parents must remain in the Library and are encouraged to provide their child with a small healthy snack and a bathroom break before class.
10am: Welcome! Children hang their coats up on the hooks in the program room. Parents say goodbye and leave the room.
- Several activity stations are set up in the room. Play dough, LEGO, sensory bin, felt board, puppets, materials for craft, toys, puzzles, blocks, reading nook etc. From 10 until 10:30, children are encouraged to visit the stations that interest them.
10:30: Transition: “Now it’s time to tidy up and put our toys away!”
10:35: Circle Time! Activities may include:
- Read aloud ( I always have a couple of selections and choose based on the children’s mood/energy)
- Show and Share: Each child has a scheduled day to bring something of significance to them to share with the class.
- Literacy building games*: all giving the children the opportunity to use critical thinking skills, learning to take turns, listen to instructions and share.
- Action songs and Parachute play
11:00am: Now it’s time to say Goodbye…I’ll see you all next week
After you have advertised the program and registration it’s time to prepare for the kids!
- Find some gently used or new toys. I was able to find many treasures at garage sales and on online swap sites: puzzles, blocks, books, LEGO, cars.
- Make sensory activities, playdough, prepare a nature table.
- Have lots of craft supplies available and set out.
- Set up a Show and Share schedule
- Have your “Bag of Tricks” and plan ready, but don’t be afraid to change the plan!
- Draft a letter to parents/caregivers with your expectations of them ( do they remain in the library?, how to support their child at the library and at home)
The “Getting Ready for Kindergarten” is in its second year at the NGPL. We currently offer 2 classes and both are full. At the end of the first session, we gave parents an evaluation. Some of the comments:
- “He learned to listen, follow instructions and interact with other children”
- “She could not wait until her show and share day.”
- “We sing the clean up song at home now”.
- “Transitions are much easier to navigate as a result of this program”
- “She knows how to take turns and share just like in school“
- “I think the time frame is too quick for this age group. I would like to see the program maybe one and an half or two hours”
- “I now have lots of ideas for activities to do with the kids at home.”
The first group of children to attend the program, (3 sessions last year, fall, winter and spring) started Kindergarten in the fall of 2015. By most accounts, parents generally thought the program prepared their children for the transition to school more than if they had not had the experience. This year`s project is to work with parents and Kindergarten teachers and other Early Learning professionals to come up with some sort assessment to gauge whether children who attend such a program are at an advantage.
*Early Literacy Games
I have a variety of games that I use in my programs. I have included a couple here that are especially popular in the Getting Ready for Kindergarten Program:
On a brightly coloured circle , write each child`s name and laminate. During circle time, pull out a circle one at a time singing
Spotlight , Spotlight …is the name of the game…
When you see your circle….tell everyone your name!
Child shouts out his or her name as he or she recognizes it.
Make up an assortment of cookies (circle with a shape, letter, animal etc on them). Put the cookies in the center of the circle and have the children sitting around the cookies;
Song: Down at the corner at the Bakery Shop, there were lots of cookies with the sugar on top….along came (insert childs name here), her cookie had a red heart on it…she found it and she took it home!
Continue around the circle. Children learn to follow instructions and to take turns. Also promotes self regulation.
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