This is also particularly challenging when it comes to the Bird because in her mind, when a task is completed once, she considers it mastered and is offended if you ask her to show you multiple times.
For example, she does not care for stacking blocks. And she gets very put out if you continually ask her to stack them. But it is a common question on so many of her evaluations. So when I am asked this, my typical answer is, "Yes, she can stack blocks. But will she stack blocks? No."
To her way of thinking, she has shown you that she can do something. Once should be enough. Don't keep asking, thank you very much.
As you might imagine, this does not bode really well in a school setting. The presentation of a skill, followed by practice of said skill, then demonstrating mastery of that skill is pretty much par for the course.
And being the checklist kind of gal that I am, I would really like to know what Lily Bird can and cannot do. That information would help me and her teacher know what to work on and what we can skip.
So armed with a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist, I am slowly but surely embarking on a mission to find out exactly what Lily knows since she can't just tell me.
And it's pretty much a guarantee that I will offend her with some of the things I am asking her to demonstrate. It's a risk I'm willing to take.
Why a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist when she is already in kindergarten?
Well, I am searching for gaps - those skills her peers already know and do. When I find those gaps, I'll prepare multiple practice activities for Lily and we'll do those until I'm sure she has them down.
Luckily, her teacher is totally on board with this idea and will be doing the bulk of the practice activities at school, along with her regular work. I'll be reinforcing the lessons at home in the evenings and on weekends. When the teacher feels Lily has mastered a skill, she'll move on to the next one. I'll have Lily keep practicing the "mastered" skill as well as reinforcing the latest one she is working on at school. This will hopefully ensure that Lily is not losing old skills as she learns new ones.
First up on the agenda - Name Recognition: First Name.
We'll be doing lots of stuff like matching her name with velcro letters, bottle caps and clothespins. She'll be spelling her name with all kinds of letters - letter stickers, wooden letters, foam letters, magnetic letters, and letter tiles. She'll be tracing her name and filling in the letters of her name with dot stickers, paints, torn paper bits, and do-a-dot markers. She'll be spelling her name with letter beads on pipe cleaners. She'll type her name on a keyboard. She'll look at family photos and label herself in the photos with name stickers.
One fun thing I'd like to point out in case you might like to make one yourself - that super cute large photo in the middle of the above picture is a homemade magnetic puzzle. It was fairly simple to do, even though the directions were written for a PC and I have a Mac. Here's the link if you're interested:
When we feel like she knows her name and knows that she is Lily, we'll add the last name to the mix. Then the family names.
Other skills we'll be working on include patterning, sorting, color and number words, upper and lower case alphabet, shape recognition, and following simple pictorial directions, among other things.
One thing I would love to explore with the Bird is typing. So if any of you know of a simple and effective kids typing program, I'd love to hear about it.
Do you have some goals to help your kids finish the school year with a bang? Let me know!