Preparing for Kindergarten essential to early success

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - This can be an exciting time for five year olds, as they prepare for their first day of Kindergarten.  It can also be a bit nerve-wracking for parents.  But thanks to the help of some early childhood educators, parents in Pascagoula can rest assured their little ones are more than prepared for the transition into school.

Dr. Connie Jo Williams is the director of Pascagoula's Early Beginnings program.  Each year, she hosts a four-year-old childcare class at Pascagoula's Family Interactive Center on Market Street.  Her goal is to teach them everything they need to know before going to kindergarten this fall.

"We want to make sure that when the children go to school, that they're ready to learn," explained Dr. Williams.

One of her final lessons, is reviewing the alphabet - a must-know for Kindergartners.  And while knowing their letters, numbers, and colors are all important, Dr. Williams says it's some of the more basic skills that will actually be the most helpful tools in the classroom.

"They need to learn to sit still and wait their turn, and that's the big challenge. But once they get into the kindergarten programs, they'll be able to just take it, and excel with that."

As a final surprise, these little guys were treated to a goodie-bag filled with school supplies like glue, a pencil, and crayons.  Just one more happy before they take those first steps into Kindergarten.

"It is so wonderful because they are making a big transition. A big transition into the big school," says Dr. Williams.  "And it's so fun to be able to a part of it, I love it."

So as we're gearing up for that first day of school here in south Mississippi go ahead and take time to review some of those vital skills, that will help your child excel from day one.

Here's a list of critical skills educators say are essential for successful entry into Kindergarten, from Pascagoula's Early Beginnings Newsletter:

  • Utilization of fine motor tools: pencils, crayons, scissors (Fiscars brand), glue
  • Familiarization with printed materials and literature: being read to, understanding that letters make sounds and words
  • Appropriate social behavior: being able to take turns, waiting for adult attention, sharing following multi-step directions
  • Discipline: understanding appropriate behaviors and consequences for misbehavior
  • Time Limits: shorter rest times and lunch times; completing tasks in a given period
  • Transition from day care / home into more structured activities: learning to be more independent and responsible
  • Recognition of the alphabet and first name in print
  • Basic shape recognition: circle, square, triangle, rectangle
  • Lap reading skills (being read to sitting in a caregiver's lap looking at a book)
  • Left to right progression of print material
  • Counting objects using one to one correspondence
  • Recognition of colors: primary (red, yellow, blue), secondary (green, orange, purple brown), black and white

For more information, call Pascagoula's Family Interactive Center at (228) 938-6418, or go to Excel by 5.

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