Getting Ready for Kindergarten

We know that parents are starting to think about kindergarten and what they can do to help their children prepare. Below we’ll tell you what we’re doing, try to answer your questions, and share some of our ideas.  You should also check out parentfiles, MMO’s parent resource site, which has links to lots of information to help you and your child prepare for Kindergarten.  And, here’s information about registration in local school districts.

Our Goals

As a child-centered, play-based program, our primary focus is preparing your child socially and emotionally. We want kids who leave MMO to be curious, enthusiastic learners who get along well with others.

We want to help children:

  • develop independence, self-confidence and self-control
  • follow rules and routines
  • make friends and learn how to be part of a group

Our next priority is language development and literacy.  Our goals are for children to:

  • use words to communicate with others
  • listen to and participate in conversations with others
  • understand the the purpose of print
  • recognize letters and words
  • begin writing for a purpose

We work with children on cognitive development:

  • thinking skills like problem-solving
  • asking questions and thinking logically
  • sorting, classifying, comparing, counting, making patterns
  • using materials and imagination to show what they’ve learned

and physical development, working on:

  • large muscle skills – balancing, running, jumping, throwing, catching
  • small muscle skills – buttoning, stringing beads, cutting, drawing and writing

Our Curriculum

We follow the Creative Curriculum, which lays out 38 different development objectives for preschool age children in a variety of areas.  This is a good framework for us to follow, but we have adapted it for the MMO program. Last year, the staff worked together to come up with some specific expectations based on that developmental continuum. This allows us to have consistent expectations across classrooms and age-levels throughout the building.

  • The Value of Reading & Writing and How We Promote & Encourage It

We want children to experience the wonderful world of books and reading.  We offer lots of opportunities for large group reading, and reading in small groups with a teacher.  We also fill our rooms with letters and words.  As we read we introduce children to new words, as well as new concepts and ideas.

We want children to learn that writing and words have value – that they help us understand the world around us. So, we set up routines that involve writing, like signing in each day when they come to class, writing our names on art projects, and writing in our journals. We also provide an environment where children are constantly exposed to writing, with writing baskets throughout the room, lots of books, and word cards and labels. We also model writing by showing children what we’re writing as we write, whether it’s making a list, writing a story, or writing down new words and posting them in the room.

Kindergarten Expectations

Remember that in most Kindergarten classrooms there will be a mix of kids who have spent time in daycare, preschool, home daycare and at home – so teachers are dealing with a wide array of development and experience.

Here are some of the skills that local Kindergarten teachers find important and helpful for children beginning Kindergarten.  And here are some general Kindergarten readiness tips from the Illinois State Board of Education. Here’s some information on the Common Core Kindergarten standards from the PTA.