Malayna and I are visiting a local preschool today. Remember way back in November, when I was thinking of signing her up to start this past January? I decided that wasn't the best idea - the kids would all know each other and be used to going to school at that point. She would've been the only new child.

She will start in September and probably go three days a week. I do have the option to in increase her days to four or five in January if she really likes it. She'll have one year in preschool before starting kindergarten in September 2009. We have full-day kindergarten in our township. Don't get me started with that topic - I could go on and on about how I think it's too much for such little kids.

Luckily, Lily {our neighbor and Malayna's friend} goes to this preschool. I told Malayna this morning that we would be visiting Lily at preschool and she was very excited. Phew! I was kind of dreading this morning - I thought she was going to give me a hard time about going. Call me a pessimist.

When I spoke to the director the other day, she gave me a short list of things kids need to know before they go to kindergarten. Malayna knows most of it, with the exception of writing her full name.

• cutting, including cutting on a line
• recognize upper and lower case letters
• write their name in upper and lower case letters
• know and recognize their address
• be able to rhyme
• understand concepts like over and under
• basic science and social studies {not really sure what this one means}
• know about the seasons and weather.

Is there anything you can add? What did your children need to know before starting kindergarten?


Anonymous said...

I was surprised by your comment about a full-day kindergarten being too much ...

Our township only offers a half day, and that's one of the reasons I sent Dean to a private kindergarten (9:00 - 1:30 p.m.). If he went to our local school, he would be going to school FEWER hours in kindergarten than he ever did in preschool! Even his shortest preschool day was 3 hours long (and he always begged to stay for lunch bunch with his friends afterwards, and sometimes even for extended day, and that's until 3 p.m.!). The half-day kindergarten, though is only 2.5 hours long!!

Many of the preschool directors I've spoken to in our area recommneded the longer kindergarten - they told me that otherwise, the kids have to spend almost all their school time doing WORK, instead of learing important socialization skills, having recess, etc. Then they end up disadvantaged in the higher grades.

I've been so happy with the longer day that Ellie will be going to the same longer kindergarten in 2010. I can't imagine she'd be challenged by a "half" day by then!

So ... what I'm getting at is I think Malayna's lucky to have the full day! And for the record (for those who don't know me), my kids will both go to our public school from grades 1-12 - didn't want anyone to think I was advocating private vs. public schools!

What does everyone else think about the half vs. full day debate?


Anonymous said...

As if I didn't write enough already ...

Apparently there's a big debate going on now whether kids need to know lowercase letters at such a young age. When Dean was in preschool (he was four), his class was writing in both upper- and lower-case letters. Many kids were struggling because they need serious fine motor skills to make those lower cases.

Then there was some sort of educational seminar in the middle of the school year, and the teacher had everyone switch to uppercase only - and, guess what? The handwriting of almost every child in the class improved. The teacher told me this "experiment" had played out the same way in many, many preschools and that's why she tried it.

Ellie now writes her name in both upper and lower case letters. Her name often looks like this: ELLiE. I think it's too confusing for her to understand "E" and "e" are actually the same letter, and that "l" and "i" are different because they look so similar.

I'm not sure what the "current thinking" about that is ... she does what she wants anyway!

As for "science" and "social studies," this year Ellie has learned about things like bugs, plants/flowers, families, cities, farms, etc.


APlanet4Creation said...

I use to think that full day Kindergarten was too much (it was half days wwwwaaayy back when I went). They have full day Kindergarten here too. I think its great. My oldest did fine and my youngest is read for a full day of school. She will go to preschool this August and be in Kindergarten 2009.

If Malayna is going for a year of preschool won't she start Kindergarten next year in 2009?

I think your list is pretty complete. I remember thinking then what the heck do they learn in Kindergarten if they are suppose to know all of that already.

Our girls will go to a Charter school. I feel you have to go with what you feel is right and can afford. Luckily the Charter school is free. Our local school doesn't have Music or Art. Can you imagine that???!!!!

lisa {milkshake} said...

k - you were surprised that I don't want my only child to be away all day?! If she were a different kid, maybe, but in my four years of experience she needs lots of quiet (down) time. Who knows - maybe that will change!

Today went really well and she didn't want to leave. Yay! We visited Lily in her classroom and Malayna had a snack with them, stayed for circle time and even played in the playground with them before we left. We visited the classroom she'll be in next year and she went right in and started playing. I even left her in there while I looked around at the rest of the school.

I am SO relieved that it went well. Whew!

I think you're right about the lowercase letters being too hard for most. That's exactly what a friend who is a kindergarten teacher told me. If MOST of the kids have trouble with it, why the heck do they push it? I think it has a lot to do with the No Child Left Behind Act. Many, many teachers I know do not like having to deal with that.

Lilie - Yes, she will start kindergarten in 2009. I realized that after I wrote it. Thanks :)

Our school system is a very good one, and besides, we can't afford private school. If we could, I would seriously consider it. I'm actually hoping that by the time she's old enough for junior high we will be able to send her somewhere other than the public junior high.

That's horrible that your public school has no music and art! They are the first things to go when there are budget cuts. Do you have sports?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was surprised - but only because I was thinking of it from the standpoint that a full day would be an opportunity for Malayna ... I wasn't thinking of her being away from you! Just a different perspective :) [k]

APlanet4Creation said...

Yes, they had sports. In fact one Grade 8 student was saying that they get to go to Phoenix to watch a Sun's game. Great for them but why can't they spend that money for a Music/Art teacher? Anyway, Olivia's school has an Art Teacher and a Music Teacher. I'm going to try to help out the PTO.