I have been working in education in some form or another for over 16 years. My parents were teachers or study education and it was always a top priority in my family. Growing up, school came first, over everything else and it is how I intend to raise my children as well. When I heard about this program I jumped at the chance to participate in a grant funded program that our town’s school is providing called Ready for Kindergarten.
The program was funded because we had a huge increase in the kindergarten population in our town and most students were under-prepared. They started some standardized assessment and the results were staggering. If students did not have some kind of preschool experience they were dreadfully behind their peers and had a hard time catching up, never mind the hit that their self esteem is taking.
There are four sessions over the course of a year. Each evening, for about two hours, we meet in age appropriate groups with community members and teachers from the school who have been trained in the curriculum. During our first session, I was pregnant with Amelia so both Kevin and I attended the session for Connor’s age group. Since then, I have been going to sessions with Amelia and Kevin has gone to the sessions for Connor.
Our community day care center has been provide babysitting in the preschool room during these sessions. Connor LOVES it! He loves going to HIS school and playing with the other kids and teachers. That has been a huge, unexpected benefit that I wasn’t thinking about. Unfortunately, Connor has been wait-listed for the public preschool next year, which is frustrating. I don’t mind paying for private preschool, although it would be nice if it was free, but the mid-day transportation is the biggest challenge. I think we will try to swing a few days a week with Kevin coming home to pick him up.
The curriculum is based on the common core standards and measurable skills. It spells out exactly what skills your child will need to be successful in kindergarten and what you should see for milestones at each developmental age. The majority of the training sessions are suggestions and recommendations for working/playing with your child to build these skills. They provide a binder with handouts and tools for each age level and at each session they send home a few toys, like Melissa and Doug puzzles or stacking toys.
All in all it has been a great experience. While most of the recommendations are not new to me, they are great reminders on how I can turn every interaction with my children into teachable moments because they are learning more and more every single second!