Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

This question is one of the most asked question we get as a preschool.  Our first job is to follow the Texas Essential Knowledge of Skills (TEKS) for guidelines.  http://tea.texas.gov/pkg.aspx This will provide you with a comprehensive list of all the skills that are expected of your child when entering Kindergarten.

Don’t panic if your child does not know EVERY single item on the skills list!  Don’t start drilling and tutoring!  Your child is just 5. Childhood is all too often rushed or passed by because of worry that ‘my child will not do well or know enough’.  Rushing and drilling will not improve the situation, it will only hinder it or worse, your child might develop a dislike for school and learning before he/she even starts.  It’s a lot like potty training, your child will progress when he/she is ready, you can’t force it.

The answer, make it fun!!  Make learning so much fun, your child will not know they are learning!  Make it messy, that’s even better!  Google, Pinterest, Lakeshore Learning and other teacher supply stores, there are so many resources available!

The next question is always the social/emotional question.  Is my child ready socially and emotionally?  This is the million-dollar question!  Again, something and the main thing that can’t be rushed.  When we are deciding where to place kiddos in our program, we look at the whole child and also consider what it might be like to be 17 or 18 graduating from high school and headed to college.  Some people laugh at that consideration while it is so far away, but it’s worth a look! The tag line we hear a lot is “When in doubt, hold them out”.  That’s not a bad tag line, but ultimately you have to decide what is best for your child.  We are lucky to live in an area with excellent schools, teachers and administrators.  If you have any doubts, schedule an appointment with your school’s counselor.  Take in samples of your child’s work and discuss what is best for your child.

A good place to start is to focus on letters and numbers. Practice alphabet letters out of order.  A child singing the alphabet perfectly may not “know” the letters.   Ask your child the letter names (upper and lower case) and the sound the letter makes.  Count objects, not just rote counting.  Your child needs to be able to write his/her name correctly.  Upper case letter at the beginning then lower case letters. (example: Debbie) These are just a few items to start with. Take a look at the skills list and see where your child is.  Most districts have a Kindergarten open house. If that event has passed, ask the Kindergarten team or front office at your school for information from those meetings.  Some programs will be outlined and you will know what to expect.

Good Luck and remember, enjoy your child at every stage.  Don’t rush to the next stage to then rush to the next stage and the cycle begins.  Slow down, let your child develop naturally and successfully.

Handwriting: Getting it Right the First Time

One of the biggest challenges as a teacher is to re-teach handwriting. The reason I say re-teach is because typically a child picks up handwriting habits that might be hard to break. It’s not always about the perfect form, let’s face it, as adults we have trouble reading some of our friend’s and family’s handwriting. At this age, it’s about weight lifting for the fingers! Build those fine motor skills and handwriting becomes much easier. How do you do that?

If you are making a mess, you are working on fine motor skills!

  • Playdough! Great for fine motor!
  • Using scissors. There are one million and one scissors on the market. Buy one you like and start cutting. Save those old magazines and cut, cut, cut!
    • The pick-up of the cuts are fine motor practice too!
    • Side note – EVERY child cuts something other than what you want them to at some point…. their hair, their friend’s hair or their clothing. (just fyi)
    • Button, zip and snap! (as they practice dressing themselves)
    • Painting, finger and brush.
    • Puzzles
    • Puppet shows
    • The list goes on! Check with Siri or “Hello Google” for many more ideas!
    • Set aside a time for fine motor. Because you are having fun with your child, they won’t even know they are “working out” for the sake of fine motor.

Helpful Links:

https://www.hwtears.com/hwt

http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/help-your-child-build-fine-motor-skills

Handwriting and Letter Formation

Handwriting notes of importance:

  • Early stages – writing lines, drawing circles and of course squishing to squirt while playing in shaving cream or whipped cream on a table or bathtub wall.
    Shaving cream on a table will clean that table right up!!
  • Pencil grip – There are specific stages for pencil grip. If your child’s fine motor is strong, these will be less of a challenge. I found this diagram that I like. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/bc/27/c6/bc27c6ad8359f75c43ac3501192c6237.jpg
  • Allow your child to pick up the writing tool and choose which hand to use. Their dominate hand will take over eventually.
  • There are many tools pencil attachment tools that encourage “correct” pencil grip. The verdict is still out for these, sometimes they end up being a toy on the end of the pencil.

Writing of THE NAME.

  • Your child should practice writing his/her name with a capital letter at the beginning and then all lower case. Example: Debbie
  • The theme that I hope you are picking up is to make it fun and your child will love spending time “playing” with you!

Now Offering! Autism Spectrum Disorder Evaluations

Now Offering Comprehensive Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluations!

Many families currently face extreme wait times for professional diagnostic evaluations. The Young Learners Group is now providing this service to children from 12 months through adults  as our commitment to providing or finding effective treatment for all.

As part of The Learning Lane’s commitment to provide effective treatment to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders we now offer diagnostic evaluations for those with suspected or known Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses to confirm or rule out an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis or to update other assessment information. {provided for children from 12 months through adults; diagnostic services are billed through insurance}

In our comprehensive Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluations we utilize the “gold standard” assessment tools: Autism Diagnostic Observation Scheduled, Second Edition (ADOS-2), and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), in addition to a diagnostic interview and several other informal assessments (BASC-3, CARS2, ABAS-3, ASRS).

FAQ’s:

Q: Who conducts the evaluations?

A: Each evaluation begins with a diagnostic interview and observation conducted by a licensed psychologist. The other portions of the evaluation are conducted by our Clinical Director, Melissa Kotarski, who has extensive training and experience with the ADOS-2 and ADI-R.

Q: How long does an evaluation take?

A: The evaluation is split into 3 different visits: Diagnostic Interview and Observation (30 minutes), ADI-R (3-6 hours), and the ADOS-2 Administration (1 hour). Additionally, there will be requirements for completing detailed questionnaires. Please note that the actual assessment times vary based on the individual.

Q: If Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is recommended following the evaluation, does The Learning Lane provide these services?

A: The Learning Lane offers ABA services at all of our locations, and enrollment is based on current openings.

Q: Who do I contact to start the assessment process or get additional information?

A: Please contact our Clinical Director, Melissa Kotarski: 281-465-3519 ext. 13 or melissa.kotarski@thelearninglane.com.

About The Learning Lane: An applied behavior analysis center serving children from 12 months to 7 years of age with autism or language delays as well as typically developing children. The curriculum and highly qualified staff foster children’s strength through a balance of activities which are developmentally appropriate and individualized to meet the development stages of each child. Spaces currently available. These spots fill quickly, call today for enrollment information and insurance questions. Insurance is accepted. thelearninglane.com