kindergarten readiness


Developing Fine Motor Skills

In Counting Down to Kindergarten, the art project and playdough stations are the main builders of a child’s fine motor skills. The first and foremost goal behind these stations is to help develop the child’s fine motor skills and build hand dexterity. Many articles online and academic journals state that a child who enters kindergarten with much experience building their fine motor skills will feel more successful in kindergarten (click here and here for the latest research). In fact, it is the second most important factor that many kindergarten teachers state as a determiner of kindergarten readiness (the first being the social/emotional skills of negotiation, getting along, sharing and using kind words). Many people think that fine motor skills is the ability to write with a pencil. It is in part, but there is so much more to fine motor skill building. If we, as teachers and parents, can get the children to use their hands in a myriad of ways, then we are building optimal fine motor skills.

When children are engaged in activities that help develop their fine motor skills, they also are developing many other skills: self-regulation (self-control), cognition (creating art and considering design), coordination, language development (talking about what they are doing and using vocabulary), dexterity, and following directions (following the steps in each project). This is where the playdough and art element of our projects come into play. We enjoy open-ended art projects each week using numerous materials and art mediums. The playdough station helps give strength to the child’s hands, develop their coordination with cutting, rolling, and forming the dough, and builds their cognitive skills by planning what they are building and carrying it out. It is also one of the ultimate sensory experiences. I scent our dough so it has a fun smell, the child uses his/her vision to play with it as well as its pleasant to look at, and they are touching it repeatedly. Many senses are involved in playing with playdough. It seems to me that each child really enjoys spending time at these stations and that is wonderful because of the skills they are developing.

Here are a few articles that stress building the child’s fine motor skills (click here and here). Click here and here for simple art ideas to do with your child at home. Click here for the playdough recipe that I use (I also add a packet of Kool-Aid drink mix to color and add scent.)


Name Recognition and Name Writing

Children entering kindergarten really should be able to recognize their name. We emphasize this skill when the children sign in by placing their name from the out board to the in board. This skill is also emphasized by our name station. Usually, each week, one station is dedicated to the children constructing their name. One week, it may be using magnetic letters to construct their name, and the next week, the child has to find the letters of their name written on blocks and the child has to put the blocks together in the corresponding order. The purpose of the station remains the same while the activity varies. The station is designed to help the children recognize their written name and find the letters of their name, and place the letters in the correct order. Some weeks, the station will feature practice sheets for the child to practice writing his/her name.

This skill is a necessary preschool skill as children entering Kindergarten will be expected to write their names on all their worksheets and art work. At Counting Down to Kindergarten we feel the responsibility to prepare our students as much as possible for Kindergarten and this station really helps. As our students get closer to Kindergarten, I emphasize name writing practice and provide the students with practice sheets to take home. As the children master their first names, I have them participate in the same activities but using their last names.

For ideas to help your children practice name recognition, click here for ideas. For ideas to help your child to build or write their name, click here.


Welcome to Counting Down to Kindergarten!

Welcome to our Counting Down to Kindergarten Preschool. This Schuylerville Public Library program is dedicated to helping our young children reach all their academic potential by offering a free preschool here at the library. This class meets twice a week and requires registration. You can register by clicking here. The class is taught by me, Jenny Edwards, a preschool teacher with a degree in Early Childhood Education and also the author of this blog. I have over ten years experience teaching preschool, have taught in a variety of school settings, and I am a mother if six children.

This program features the academic and social skills your child will need prior to entering Kindergarten. Each week is based upon a theme. The program has a set routine: First, there is a circle time where Miss Jenny reads stories, sings, teaches finger plays, and gives instruction to the whole group. Then, the children and their parents break up and explore the various stations. The stations also follow the theme, and each station focuses on developing various preschool level skills. Some of these skills are: early literacy, name recognition, letter recognition, counting, number recognition, name, letter, and number writing, playing cooperatively, taking turns, exploring through the senses, fine motor skills, and art exploration.

This program is designed for children ages 3 to 5. If your child is almost 3 and turns 3 during the session, feel free to register him/her. Siblings are also welcome to attend. You can register here or in person at the library. Those who register online will still need to fill out a photo permission form upon the first day of class. When you register, Miss Jenny will email you as we get closer to a new session beginning. If you have anymore questions you can email Miss Jenny at jedwards@sals.edu.