Start Kindergarten Ready

school_readinessIt’s important for kids starting kindergarten in a few weeks to feel confident and ready on their first day of school.  Mastering kindergarten readiness skills is one way to do that.

Kindergarten readiness includes practical skills that children need to succeed, as well as social emotional skills that help them to successfully function in a classroom of peers. And parents play a key role in preparing kids for that first day.  Try these tips:

Talk Together – Children need both confidence and ability to use their words:

  • Have frequent conversations with your children and encourage them to use words to express their feelings and reactions to the world around them.
  • Read to your children for 20 minutes every day and talk about the story, the characters and what happened first, next and last.
  • Stories and songs with rhyming words expose children to different sounds and help build their vocabulary.

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Turn Grocery Shopping Into a School Readiness Experience

Mother And Daughter At Fruit Counter In Supermarket With ListEveryday life is full of learning opportunities for you and your child – even when you’re at the grocery store.

Whether you’re together shopping, walking down the street, playing at the park, or waiting for an appointment, your child learns by watching you and talking with you. Talking together builds your child’s confidence, curiosity, and vocabulary – skills that will help your child be successful later in kindergarten.

So next time you’re out together at the grocery store, try these ideas for turning shopping into a fun, school readiness experience. Continue reading

Three Ideas to Make Waiting Fun

Waiting for an appointment with young children can be excruciating. But it doesn’t have to be. You can have fun and help your child learn at the same time.  Here’s how:

  • Make it easier by bringing your child’s favorite book or toy.
  • Pack snacks and water.
  • Play games.  Here are three ideas from our Tigo school readiness program:

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Child Care Providers Get Support at Diablo Valley College

Maria Escobar of Concord enrolled in college after providing child care for over 20 years.

First 5 Contra Costa has been a longtime supporter of child care providers who enroll in college to earn their Associate’s degrees in Early Childhood Education. Over the years, providers have received tutoring, academic advising, loans for books, and financial incentives when they meet educational and professional goals.

One strategy that has been particularly effective is the cohort program at Diablo Valley College for child care providers who speak English as a second language. A small, committed group of providers – who primarily speak either Farsi or Spanish – have taken several classes together. Along the way, the providers received tutoring and group support, including taking workshops together to prepare for upcoming classes.

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Kicked Out of Kindergarten, Family Turns to First 5 for Help

Hector, a five-year-old kindergartner from Bay Point, loved his new kindergarten class so much that he called the staff at the Bay Point First 5 Center to tell them all about it.

“Victor took classes at the Center for the last three years, so the staff really loved hearing how much he was enjoying kindergarten.  I would put him on speaker phone,” said Vicki Coster, the Center’s Director. Things took a turn when Hector and his mom came into the Center last week. When Vicki asked him how kindergarten was going, he immediately started crying. His mom was also in tears.

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California’s Kindergarten Readiness Act – Now What?

It’s kindergarten registration season in school districts throughout California. Some parents may be wondering if their child is ready for kindergarten, while others may be wondering if their child is even eligible.

New kindergarten entry requirements coupled with possible state budget cuts makes this a very confusing time for parents of soon-to-be kindergartners.

For years, California kindergarteners had to turn 5 before December 2 in order to register for kindergarten. The Kindergarten Readiness Act (SB 1381), passed in September 2010, changed the entry date to September 1 so all children would enter kindergarten at age 5. The new age requirement is being phased in over three years starting in 2012-13. Continue reading