January

Dear Parents,

The weather outside is damp and dank, but the children are as bright and sunny as ever!  Second semester marks a time of greater independence for the TK students.  This means that we spend more time on directed activities, which includes morning work in the am, and subject related activities in the afternoon.  There is still plenty of time for play, but our centers are beginning to focus on specific concepts that the children will be expected to learn in kindergarten.  Additionally, the expectations are somewhat higher when it comes to behavior and following the rules.  The great news is that these kids are so ready to take the next step.  The students in TK have been demonstrating leadership qualities for some time now, and they delight in learning new things and taking risks.

Literacy– In the letter of the week curriculum we are focused on learning all about Kk.  Students continue to review letters Aa-Jj, and we are just now beginning to string letters together to form simple CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words.  In the upcoming weeks we will spend a significant amount of time looking at rhyming words, and I will show the students that if you swap out the beginning sound and leave the ending the same, you can create many new words.  Simple things that you can do at home to support this include simple rhyming games and activities.  You can give your child a word and the two of you can see how many rhyming words you can come up with, both real and nonsense.

Writing for this age can be a difficult and laborious task.  In order to practice writing in a fun and non-stressful way, sometimes I give the students prompts to help them in their thinking.  Students have written letters to Santa, said what they are thankful for on turkey feathers, and now they are filling in the answer to questions for the 100th day of school.  Great ways to encourage writing at home include making lists, writing letters, filling in questionnaires, and brainstorming groups of words for a specific topic.

Sometimes parents ask me when I think their child will begin to read.  In order for this to happen 4 things must be in place.  Here is a brief description of this process from one of my favorite bloggers, Malia from Playdough to Plato:

 

Children give clues that they are ready to begin reading.  Teachers call these “pre-reading skills” and they include:

  1. Motivation

Gathering books on topics your child enjoys and making story time a special chance to bond as a family or relax in class are two quick ways to increase their motivation.

2. Print Awareness

Children should understand that readers sound out words on a page by looking at letters, thinking about what sounds they make, and putting those sounds together to make words.  Kids don’t need to be able to actually sound out the word on their own, but they should grasp the concept.

Print awareness also includes understanding how to read a book.  Children should be able to point to the cover, show you how to turn a page when you finish reading the words, and hold the book so that it faces the correct direction.

3.  Letter Recognition

Before children read, they can typically name the letters they see.  {“That is a B.  That is an O.”}  Being able to recognize the ABCs prepares them for learning letter sounds later.

Since some of the best {and most entertaining} learning happens when children are playing, you can help your child recognize letters with a batch of super fun ABC games.

4.  Phonological Awareness

Said more simply, children need to be able to hear the sounds in words.  For example:

1.  Do “cat” and “dog” rhyme?  Answer: No, they do not end with the same sound.

2.  What is the first sound in the word “rabbit”?  Answer: /r/.

3.  How many syllables do you hear when you clap out the word “rodeo”?  Answer: Three /ro/  /de/  /o/.

To help your child improve her phonological awareness, play rhyming games like “Little Mouse, Little Mouse” and Five Little Monkeys. Teach her how to break words into parts and put together a beginning sound sort.

Some of the other things that TK will be covering during this month include Martin Luther King, Jr., the 3 states of matter, greater than/less than, tally marks, and the 100th day of school.

I hope this post includes lots of useful information!  Please contact me if you have questions or comments.

 

Thanks,

Emily

Letter ice-cream scoops

K is for kite craft

Alphabet memory game

Winter hats art project

Butterfly symmetry