Parents
Dear Parent:

You are a monumental force in your child's education. Though I am your child's kindergarten teacher you are your child's first teacher. I want our relationship to be a partnership that ensures your child's success. Click on a button on the left for important information.  I look forward to working with you!
SupplyList
Mrs. Liddiard's Favorite Websites for Awesome Parents!!
The internet is a great place to find all sorts of information on how to help your child be a successful learner. Below are some of the best I have found. Let me know if you've found any great sites that are not my list.
For the Kiddies

Games, activities & info for kids.
http://www.starfall.com/
  --One of my favorites that support kids reading.
http://www.kidsites.com/
  --Huge list of parent approved sites for kids
http://www.allsafesites.com/
--A safe way for kids to search the web.
http://pbskids.org/
http://kids.yahoo.com/
http://www.bananaboo.com/
http://www.crayola.com/
http://disney.go.com/index



Raising a Reader

Sites with information on how to help your child become a successful reader. On some sites you will need to click on "parents."
http://www.education.com/
http://www.raisingareader.org/
http://www2.ed.gov/parents/landing.
jhtml
  --click on "Help My Child Read" on the left menu bar. Awesome booklets for parents.
http://www.readingrockets.org/
http://www.rif.org/






Get Ready, Set-- GO!
~Break Apart Words-
Say a three sound word to your child (ex. bat) then break apart the sounds in the word (b-a-t) and then have your child break it apart with you. When I do this at the beginning of the year the children don't have a clue but after about a week they're pros at it. The ability to hear and identify the sounds in words is a rerequisite for learning to read.
Counting to 100-Being able to count to one hundred is our goal for the end of kindergarten. To help your child achieve that goal begin counting out loud. Have your child count with you but when she/he no longer knows the next number (most, but not all, kinders begin kindergarten knowing how to count to 14) you continue on by yourself to 100. Though your child may struggle to get past 14 in the beginning, be patient. If you do this at least once a day, before you know it your child will be able to count to 20 then 30 and so on. Praise works wonders. Praise your child's effort no matter where she/he ended counting and you will find your child will work even harder to count higher and higher. When you have done this routine a couple of times you can start taking turns counting each number. For example you say 1 and your child says 2, you say 3 and your child says 4 and so on until your child is not able to figure out the next number.
~Shapes- At the beginning of the year we work with four basic shapes-square, circle, triangle &rectangle. Begin by going over the four shapes everyday with your child. Once your child knows those go onto oval, diamond, etc. I have made shape activities you can print out and do with your child at home. Click on the link: Printable Shape Activities
Counting Objects- (pennies, buttons, raisins, cheerios-anything that can be counted)When your child is able to count out loud to ten then begin teaching her/him how to count objects. Kinders sometimes struggle with this when they first start doing it. They often will begin with 1 and start counting with little regard to the objects they are counting. Our goal is to get them to slow down and count the objects. This is the way have them do it in class: Get a piece of blank paper and line the objects along the long left edge of the paper. Then when counting the object have her/him say "One" then slide that object to the other side of the page, "Two" and slide the second object to the left side of the page. This makes your child slow down and see what has been counted. Don't let her/him go on to the next number until until touching the next object. We call this activity "Slide and Count" and we do it all year long. Another activity you can do for counting objects is to get a cup and have your child pick up the object and place it in the cup while counting.
~Sing the ABC song
~Alphabet Flashcards- Click on the link below for a set of Alphabet flashcards.
Alphabet Flash Card
~Beginning Sounds-
Point out the sounds at the beginning of words. For example, mommy (mmmmmommy) or daddy (d-d-d-daddy). When driving down the road point out things you see such as McDonalds and ask your child to tell you what sound is at the beginning of the word McDonalds (mmm).This takes practice but once you've done it a couple of times your child will get the hang of it and really enjoy it.
The countdown to school officially begins now. I know it is only July but there are many things you can be doing in the last few weeks of summer vacation that will give your child a jumpstart to kindergarten success. Below are ideas to help you help your child get ready for kindergarten!
~Same Sound/Different Sound-
Once your child has gotten pretty good at identifying beginning sounds in words start giving her/him two words and ask if the words have the same or different beginning sound. For example, map and mud have the same beginning sound but map and bug do not.
Phonics and Reading
~Rhyming Words-
A good source of rhyming words are Mother Goose Rhymes. If you do not have a book of Mother Goose Rhymes, you can print them out at http://www.enchantedlearning.com/rhymes/coloring
After you have read a rhyme a couple of times to your child, read it again but let your child fill in the second rhyming word in each sentence. For example say, "Little Miss Muffet sat on her________." This is a good time to point out that Muffet and tuffet have the same ending. When your child becomes good at this activity you may want to print out the rhyming worksheets for your child at: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/rhymes/matching
~Counting-There are two kinds that are important at this time.
Math & Basic Skills
~Colors-So that you can review colors with your child, I have made some fun learning games that you can print out and do at home. Click on the link: Printable Color Activities
Fine Motor Development
Fine motor development refers to the coordination of the muscles of the hands and fingers and their ability to manipulate objects. In kindergarten fine motor development affects your child's ability to grasp objects, button and zip clothes, tie shoes, and most importantly, handwriting. Here are some things you can do to develop those skills:
Play dough, Silly Putty, etc.- playing with this gooey stuff is actually good for your child's fine motor skills. It's play with a purpose. Rolling, squishing, pounding the dough works those little muscles that affect the hand. Let your child roll it into little snakes, balls and cut it with scissors. If you're like me and can't stand the smell of play dough, you can make your own. The Family Fun website has some great recipes you and your child can make together. Click on the link below.
http://fun.familyeducation.com/sculpting/recipes/37040.html
For a great book that makes learning colors fun, check out Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill Martin and illustrated by Eric Carle or watch it read by the author, Bill Martin on Youtube.
Cutting Paper-Recycle those old magazines and let your child get creative while strengthening those little muscles that power the hand. Give your shredder a break and let your little one cut up junk mail such as magazine subscriptions. Give your child practice cutting along lines. Click on the link below for cutting skill sheets:  http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/miscellaneous/scissor_skills.htm
Remember cutting isn't limited to paper. Your child can improve her/his cutting skills by cutting yarn, straws, play dough, etc. For safety reasons always have your child use blunt end scissors - the Fiskars brand is a personal favorite of mine.
Drawing, Painting and Coloring- Give your child some paper and a variety of art and writing supplies and watch a masterpiece being created! Painting can include finger paint, painting with cotton balls, Q-tips, a brush, etc. These activities are not only fun but the time spent improves your child's fine motor control which improves handwriting-so much more fun than handwriting sheets but just as beneficial.
Lacing Cards- Have your child "sew" around a lacing card. This is a fun fine motor activity and so easy to make yourself. Under shape activities (above), I have printable shape lacing cards that you can print out and instructions for making them. Lacing cards are not limited to the shape cards I made. You can trace around any shape (large cookie cutters are great) onto cardboard (old cereal boxes), craft foam, poster board, etc. Punch holes a 1/2 inch from the edge all around and voila! You have a lacing card. For full instructions on how to make cards and a "needle" click on the Printable Shape Activities link above.
Sorting- Gather a variety of small objects (buttons, pennies, cotton balls, keys, -the possibilities are endless, put them in a pile and have your kinder sort them. When you take the silverware out of the dishwasher have your child wash her/his hands and sort the spoons, forks and butter knives into the silverware drawer. The activity of picking up these small objects is great for fine motor development
Name Writing- All of the activities above are great for developing fine motor skills and one of the reasons we do them is so that your child will have greater hand control and be able to write her/his name and letters more legibly. This is always a struggle. Here are some things you can do help your child:
Getting your kinder ready for Kindergarten!
Kindergarten Handbook
Number Recognition-The first nine weeks of kindergarten we work primarily with numbers 1-10. As the year progresses we will introduce 0 and then 11-20. The more numbers your child knows by sight the better. To review numbers with your child click on the link below for number flashcards.
Remember-Not all letters are the same size- Children upon entering kindergarten often struggle with this concept.  To make it easier we write our letters on three lines that we call the "skyline, midline and grass line." Basically it is two solid lines with a dotted middle line. These lines are used to guide kinders on the correct size, orientation and formation of letters.
Correct Formation-Kindergarten lays the foundation for future handwriting success. It is important that children learn the correct formation of letters. Whenever your child is writing always encourage correct letter formation and correct mistakes when needed. The links below have handwriting practice worksheets that you can print out for your child to practice writing letters and numbers. The numbers and letters on these practice sheets correlate with how our Reading and Math programs expect your child to write. The handwriting worksheet maker allows you to type in your child's name and it creates worksheets you can print out with your child's name on them. Meddybemps.com is an awesome website I just discovered that has a spider that shows your child how to write each letter.
Personal Skills and Independence
Kindergarten is a big step in a child's life and one of the duties of kindergarten is to promote independence. Below is a list of skills that I prefer my kindergarteners be able to do independently or have at least been introduced to upon entering kindergarten:
Take care of bathroom needs independently. Unless there is a biological reason, all children upon entering kindergarten are expected to potty themselves. Please make me aware of any needs your child may have.
Wash hands
Buttoning and fastening most clothing
Blow own nose
Eat and drink neatly (for a kindergartener)
Put away backpack and manage belongings
Separate from parents without anxiety-This is so important for kindergarten success. Children who cry when their parents leave, have a hard time getting started on lessons. Although anxiety is normal on the first day of school most children get into the routine of things by the second week. Education.com has a wonderful article with great ideas for helping children overcome separation anxiety. Check it out:
Social Skills and Behavior
Academics are important in kindergarten and we start working on math, reading and writing pretty quickly. However one of the most important skills I teach in the first nine weeks is social skills. A child who does not have the basics of social skills mastered will not be able to learn and focus on academics. In order for your child to learn and function in our kindergarten community the following skills need to be mastered:
A Word about Kindergarten Independence: I had a professor in college who had a motto: "Never do for a child what a child can do for herself/himself. I also believe this wholeheartedly. As I mentioned previously, kindergarten is a big step and I am here to help your child in any way I can. However part of my job is to help your child to become a confident, successful and independent learner. When I teach a child how to do something and then step back and let her/him do it independently I am relaying the message "I know you can do it!" and giving the confidence to try something else. 
Tying shoes -not all kinders have the fine motor skills to do this at the beginning of year and some do not master this until first grade. No child is made to feel bad if unable to tie shoes. However until your child learns, you may want to consider dressing your kinder in slip-on shoes or shoes with Velcro closures. To help your child improve her/his fine motor skills and be able to tie shoes, work on some of the fine motor activites I have previously listed and when you feel your child is ready, check out the links below on how to teach your child to tie shoes.
Play and Work Well with Others- Learning to take turns, share supplies and speak respectfully to others is vital for kindergarten success. One way you can help is to play board games with your child. Board games are more than just fun. Games teach math (counting) but more importantly they teach how to take turns, follow rules and win and lose gracefully. These are not easy concepts for kindergarteners and the first few times you play your kinder may want to go first and may be very upset about losing. Be patient and praise your child when rules are followed.
Oral Language Development
Do you want your child to be a good reader who reads for enjoyment? If so, one of the most important things you can do is read to your child every night. Starting in August this will be your child's homework or should I say your homework-reading one book each evening to your child. Below is one of the best websites for parents who want to raise a successful reader:
http://rif.org/parents/readingaloud/default.mspx
This website explains the benefits of reading aloud to your child and has great tips for making your nightly reading together rewarding and educational.
Reading Aloud
Upon entering kindergarten children need to have had a wide variety of experiences and the words to describe those experiences. Oral Language Development has a great impact on children's later reading success. Children who come from families who have interacted with them positively since birth enter kindergarten ready to learn to read. Though I work hard to provide a language-rich environment at school there is much you can do at home:
Talk, Talk, Talk-Set aside a time each day to have a one on one conversation with your child.
Ask about what happened at school- If you are given a one word answer then ask your child to elaborate and tell you more. A fun thing to do is pretend you are interviewing your child. You can use a paper  towel roll or any object as a microphone and ask questions. Give your child an opportunity to interview you about your day as well. 
Talk to your child about a variety of subjects to expand vocabulary.
Expand upon answers- When your child answers a question about a subject ask her/him to expand upon the answer.  For example if you are talking about favorite dogs, ask your child to tell you why a certain dog is a favorite or if it would make a good pet and why.
Read stories-during reading ask questions such as "What do you think will happen next?" When finished reading have your child tell you what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story. Make sure to clarify any unknown words.
Sitting Quietly and Focusing on a Task for an Extended Period of Time- This is one of the biggest adjustments for new kinders  One way you can help is to have a routine of reading with your child each evening. The very act of having a routine will help your child to focus. It signals to your child that it is time to listen and enjoy reading together. This is not to say your child should be still the entire time but should be interacting and engaged in the reading. Play with your child. Helping your child to build a castle with blocks or working on a project together helps your child to learn to focus on an activity.
Communication Skills-In order for children to work together they have to learn how to communicate respectfully. This means listening when others speak and expressing ideas in complete sentences. The dinner table is a great place to have family conversations that teach communication skills and is an excellent opportunity for you to model these skills.
Make it a rule that your child may not interrupt others when speaking. Always give you child an opportunity to speak but make it understood that interrupting others will not be allowed.
Encourage your child to speak in complete sentences. This is a skill that Mrs. Bejessie expects all our Big Pasture students. To get some practice ask your child questions. If she/he fails to answer in a full sentence give a suggestion for what could have been said. You may have to do this several times but the more practice your child has the easier it will get.

Encourage your child to look people in the eyes when listening to them. This is a communication skill that is emphasized in our reading program and I model it often. If your child is especially shy,  lots of  encouragement may be needed but I do not suggest forcing them. 
Self-Discipline-This is a very important skill but unfortunately one that some kinders struggle with.  A longitudinal study (known as the Marshmallow test) showed that young children who lacked self discipline as four year olds were in later years found to have lower self esteem and lower academic and social success. Young children are naturally impulsive. Self-discipline is not something children come by naturally but are taught. In my class I teach my students to think before they act, to make good choices and to take responsibility for their behavior. When a student misbehaves I do the following:
Take the child aside and ask, "Tell me what you did wrong." When the child explains then I ask, "Tell me what you should have done." This is much more effective than scolding. This technique empowers the child and makes her/him think about behavior.
Manners-this truly could have gone under communication skills but it so important to me that it I had to give it it's own subheading. In our class children are expected to say please, thank you, no thank you, excuse me, your welcome, yes and no ma'am/sir as well as speak in a polite and respectful manner. The key to success is that I never accept anything but good manners. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are kindergarten manners. If you are working on this at home and are ready to pull your hair out, check out an article at familycorner.com entitled, Teaching Good Manners. It really mirrors my own philosophy on teaching manners. I hope it helps.
Parenthood.com has an article on this very subject entitled, How to Teach Kids Self-Discipline.
It has some great tips for parents and is really worth reading.
Well I think that's everything you may ever need or want to know about how to get your kinder ready for kindergarten. Overwhelmed? Don't be. I don't expect your child to be a walking, talking encyclopedia who gives me an Eddie Haskell "Good morning Mrs. Liddiard you are looking very lovely today" on the first day of school. These are just helpful ideas and you can pick and choose based on your child's needs. The very fact that you read any of this means you are a concerned parent who wants the best for your child (my favorite kind). Now those of you who read all the way to the bottom of this page give yourself a pat on the back-And go do something fun-teacher's orders!
See you August 19, 2010!