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It’s Time for Kindergarten: A Resource for Parents Smart Beginnings Shenandoah Valley (540) 568-8968

Dear Families, Beginning Kindergarten! These two words paint a vivid picture of children heading off to school for the first time. Feelings of excitement and anticipation for what the future holds! New experiences, new learning, and new friends are on the horizon. This transition is an important milestone in a child’s and family’s life. It is a time filled with wonder and excitement about what is to come. Along with this wonder and excitement, questions may arise that can lead to anxiety or worry by children and parents. The purpose of this book is to help answer some of those questions before sending your child off to school on that first day. It was designed with parents, grandparents, and caregivers in mind. Throughout this book, you will find helpful information about kindergarten registration, community resources, simple family activities to prepare for the first day of school, and frequently asked questions. Remember, you are always encouraged to call your local school system for more assistance. Phone numbers are located in the Resource Section of this book. Sincerely, Smart Beginnings Shenandoah Valley Transition to Kindergarten Team

Smart Beginnings Shenandoah Valley would like to thank all the partners who provided feedback and suggestions for material included in this book. Most especially, we’d like to thank the following people for their collaboration, dedication, and contributions to this project. Without them, this project would not have been possible. Their commitment to families across the Shenandoah Valley region as they prepare their children for the exciting transition to kindergarten was tremendous! Dr. Susan Barnes Assistant Professor James Madison University

Ms. Cathy Cook Education Services Coordinator Shenandoah Valley Regional Preschool Network

Ms. Kelley Davis, Teacher Page County Schools

Ms. Sharon Dove, Teacher Ren’s House Family Child Care Preschool Program

Ms. Ronda Heatwole, Teacher Rockingham County Public Schools

Ms. Stacie Jackson, Coordinator Smart Beginnings Shenandoah Valley

Ms. Delores Jameson, Director Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

Ms. Nancy Lantz Director of Preschool & Title I Rockingham County Schools

Ms. Vicki Lucas, Teacher Building Bridges Family Child Care Preschool Program

Ms. Gladys Remnant, Teacher Rockingham County Schools

Ms. Maryann Sherry, Teacher Shenandoah County Schools

We would also like to thank the school systems who participated in this collaborative process:

Augusta County Public Schools Page County Public Schools Shenandoah County Public Schools Waynesboro City Public Schools

Harrisonburg City Public Schools Rockingham County Public Schools Staunton City Public Schools

Table of Contents Section #1

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Section #2

Asking About Kindergarten

Section #3

Practicing for Kindergarten

Section #4

Going to Kindergarten

Section #5

Being Healthy in Kindergarten

Section #6

Resources & Contacts

Section #7


Section #1

Section #6

Getting Ready for Kindergarten


Agencies: 2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number that connects callers to a trained professional who provides free information about health and human services anywhere in Virginia. It’s available 24/7. ChildCare Connection is a child care resource and referral service providing parents with referrals to child care providers and offers training and support to caregivers throughout the Shenandoah Valley. 540-433-4531 Department of Social Services provides individuals and families with support, services, and training to help deal with issues such as poverty, abuse, and neglect as well as helping them to be self-sufficient and productive in their family and community. 540-574-5100 (Harrisonburg and Rockingham) 540-245-5800 (Augusta/Staunton) 540-942-6646 (Waynesboro/Staunton) 540-778-1053 (Page) 540-459-6226 (Shenandoah)

Children develop in their own unique way. Kindergarten teachers are ready to welcome all children and their families to ensure each child achieves their fullest potential. Regardless of the special talents or challenges your child brings on that first day of school, there are some basic skills that will make the transition easier. The following skills are general expectations for typically developing children:

Social Skills

Family Resource and Referral Center is located in Staunton, Virginia. It houses one of six regional 2-1-1 call centers; Project STAR serves families with children ages 0-3 through home visits, developmental screenings, and group meetings; Quality Child Care Initiative provides local listings of child care settings, offers suggestions to parents on how to find quality care, and coordinates training for early childhood professionals including center-based and family day home providers. 540-245-5899

Follow rules, routines, and 2 step directions

Virginia Department of Health helps individuals and families lead a healthy life by offering programs, services, and clinics that educate the community in areas such as family planning, medical/nursing services, nutrition, overall health education, dental health, and disease control. 540-574-5100 (Harrisonburg and Rockingham) 540-332-7830 (Staunton and Augusta)) 540-949-0137 (Waynesboro) 540-743-6528 (Page) 540-459-3733 (Shenandoah)

Cooperate, share, and help others

Virginia Relay Service assists those people that are deaf or speech disabled in communicating by phone.

Clean up after themselves

Adjust to new situations Interact positively with adults and peers Use words to express ideas and needs (including asking for help) Attend to and finish tasks Resolve simple conflicts Focus for a short period of time (5-10 minutes) Listen to a story in a group setting Take care of their things

Motor Skills Hold a pencil or crayon correctly

In this section, you will find a list of schools and agencies in your area: Surrounding School Systems:

Walk, run, jump, climb, and other large muscle skills

*Wash their hands

Augusta County Schools 540-245-5100

*Use the restroom by themselves

Page County Schools

Take care of their own needs:

*Zip, snap, and button their clothes *Put on their coat and shoes *Carry & unpack their backpack

Cognitive Skills Know the names and sounds of some letters

Harrisonburg City Schools 540-433-3644

Rockingham County Schools 540-743-6533 540-564-3200 Shenandoah County Schools 540-459-6222

Staunton City Schools 540-332-3920

Waynesboro City Schools 540-946-4600

Know the names and quantities of some numbers Sort objects by color, shape, and size Count to 20 State their first and last name Identify their first name or letters in their name Write their given first name (not a nickname) Identify basic colors and shapes Hold & look through a book correctly

Get ready to “jump in” to kindergarten! Contact your local school system to find your child’s home school, kindergarten registration date, and other important information before school starts.

Birth Certificate Application

Section #2 Asking About Kindergarten

How old does my child need to be to enter school?

How do I register for kindergarten?

How do I find out my child’s home school?

What time does school start & end?

How do I find out what bus my child will ride?

Where is the bus stop?

What time will the bus pick-up & drop off my child?

Who do I call if I have concerns about my child’s development?

What do I do if my child has a medical condition such as food allergies, asthma, diabetes, bee allergies, etc.?

When should I keep my child home from school? (common medical problems, fever, etc.)

Is my child eligible for free or reduced lunch?

May I eat lunch with my child?

How do I volunteer in my child’s classroom?

Do I need to send a snack to school for my child?

Augusta County Schools Page County Schools Rockingham County Schools Shenandoah County Schools Staunton City Schools Waynesboro City Schools

540-245-5100 540-743-4252 540-564-3254 540-459-6222 540-332-3920 540-946-4600

Registration for all Harrisonburg City Schools occurs at the Harrisonburg City Welcome Center. Please call 540-433-3644 for more information.

Come on in! Kindergarten registration will begin the week of_______________. For specific registration days during that week or any questions you may have, please contact your local school or school system listed below. Round ‘em up and head ‘em in!

1. Birth certificate 2. Proof of residency 3. Immunizations and physical forms

What you will need to bring:

Howdy partners! If you have a child who will be 5 years old on or before September 30th, it’s time to register them for Kindergarten. Registration for all schools in Augusta, Page, Rockingham, and Shenandoah Counties, as well as all schools in Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro Cities, will begin the week of ___________. Please remember to bring the following documents with you to register your child. See ya’ll there!

On that first day of school, your house may be full of excitement and nervousness. Knowing the answers to questions such as those below may ease nervousness. Consider taking this checklist with you to kindergarten registration or to visit the school during the summer. Use the additional space to add any questions you may have.

Additional notes from the PreK teacher:

This is how I write my name and draw a picture of myself:

Section #3

Practicing for Kindergarten

Children love to learn! Building reading and writing skills through play and every day activities will help your child in school. Reading and writing are foundation skills in school. These skills are used in everyday life, all the time. Here are a few simple activities you can do at home to give your child a jump start in learning these skills:

Read to your child or let them read to you (children reciting favorite stories from memory is a first step in reading)

Point out simple words seen every day on clothing,

signs, in stores and on menus

Visit the local library for a free library card and great

books to read

Create a grocery list together and let your child help

you find the items

Use “waiting time” at doctors’ offices, in store lines,

or other trips to read or point out words

Keep magnetic letters on the fridge to play with or to

leave messages for your child

Teach your child to write their name with a capital

letter in the beginning followed by lowercase letters circle one: usually circle one: usually

I can follow rules and routines:

I can ask for help when I need it:

person animal or pet food

story or book toy or game TV show/movie

These are some of my favorites:

circle one: usually

I can adjust to new situations:

My favorite thing to do during free choice is:

Most often during free choice, I play:

circle one: by myself




with friends

Family Day Home ________________ Private PreK ___________________


_________________________________________________________ By signing above, I give the staff permission to share this report with my child’s K teacher at the school listed below:

I can count to _____

I can name _____ out of 10 numbers in random order: (0 to 9)

I can name _____ out of 4 basic shapes: (circle, square, triangle, rectangle)

I can name _____ out of 8 basic colors: (red, blue, yellow, purple, orange, green, black, brown)

I can name _____ out of 26 uppercase letters I can name _____ out of 26 lowercase letters

Cognitive Development:

Center _______________________ Public PreK ____________________


Social & Emotional Development




PreK Assessment for _____________________________________________ Completed by: __________________________________________________

Reading and Writing

B. use one hand, then the other, then both to manipulate

A. manipulate objects

Manipulative Skills

E. perform criss-cross pattern activities

D. balance while climbing stairs or horizontal ladder on the floor

C. balance while walking a line

B. balance while spinning

A. balance without falling or moving a great deal

Non-Locomotor Activites

B. walk and run properly

A. show progress in walking, running, galloping, jumping, etc.)

Locomotor Activites

D. perform activities to increase flexibility

C. perform activities to strengthen muscles

B. know when his/her heart is beating faster (what it feels like)

A. perform activities to raise heart rate and breathing

Personal Fitness

D. perform movements from letter “a� above while listening to music or verbal instruction

C. use movement vocabulary

B. know fundamental movement patterns

A. be safe when following rules

A. change directions (R,L, up, down, forward, back), levels (high, medium, low), pathways (straight, curved, zigzag), and effort (fast, slow, hard, soft)

created by Kelley Davis March 2009

E. identify places in home, neighborhood, and community to play safe and be active

D. perform activities at different proficiency levels

C. perform structured and unstructured activities daily

B. describe how to be fit and do activities he/she likes

A. identify activities he/she likes or dislikes

Physically Active Lifestyle

C. listen and follow directions

B. share equipment and take turns

Responsible Behaviors

Movement Concepts

Physical and Motor Development


Children are naturally curious explorers who want to learn about the world around them. Scientific concepts such as observing, predicting, comparing, and drawing conclusions help children make sense of how thing work. Asking questions and talking to adults teaches them about the world around them. Consider one of these science activities:

Plant and tend a small garden Take a nature walk around the neighborhood and talk about what you see-collect and sort objects from your walk such as leaves or rocks to build vocabulary and provide practice in classifying objects

Talk about the weather each day and make a graph or chart together to record observations

Care for a pet, such as a fish or earthworm, and talk with your child about what the pet does, what care it needs, etc.

Count aloud with you when setting the table, i.e. count each plate or glass as it is placed on the table

Sort the laundry by color, size, and shape Sort the plates, cups, and silverware when

unloading the dishwasher

Help you cook by measuring, mixing, or serving A. initiate interactions with peers

E. show self-direction when using materials

E. show positive responses to challenges

D. adapt to change and transitions

C. use materials correctly and respectfully

B. follow rules and routines

A. contribute ideas for rules and routines


F. identify others needs, rights, and emotions

E. use respectful and polite vocabulary

D. participate

C. cooperate, help, and share

B. make new friends

Interaction with Others

D. develop personal preferences in class

F. show increased independence

D. seek and accept help from others

C. know he/she is unique and respect others differences

C. show increased attention span

E. include others

D. share

C. take turns

B. identify conflict and try to solve B. learn from experiences

B. express emotions/feelings in words not actions

A. express feelings appropriately

language by asking questions such as: Which jar has more or less? How many bananas are in this bunch? A. show interest in learning new things

Talk with you at the grocery store using math

A. know first name, last name, gender, age, and birthday

symbols such as numbers, dollar signs and the cent signs Approaches to Learning

Help you at the grocery store and point out math


the finished product Social Problem-Solving

Math concepts including counting, sorting, recognizing shapes, and measuring can occur naturally in children’s play. For instance, they learn that a parent is big and a child is small. By the time they enter kindergarten, many children understand math concepts without having the words to describe them. To build math concepts, invite your child to:

Personal and Social Development


G. describe the past based on stories, pictures, visits, and songs

F. act out a role from the past

E. retell stories/episodes from the past

D. ask questions about common objects from the past

C. put events and objects in order

B. use the words before, after, now, and then to describe past and present

A. describe how babies change into adults

Changes Over Time

H. know others needs and help

G. help care for class materials

F. share thoughts/opinions in group

E. help solve class problems

D. have a plan at learning center

C. help create classroom rules

B. rules are needed to get along

A. work together


A. Identify choices

E. look from different elevations

F. use labels and symbols for what the child has seen

E. use the words hard, soft, rough, and smooth fluently

D. use the words closer, farther away, taller, shorter, higher, lower, alike, different, inside, and outside

C. use the words on, under, over, behind, near, far, above, below, toward, and away

B. use words to describe features of locations

A. use words to describe location

E. learn about other traditions/cultures

D. pretend play to understand self/others

C. know he/she is a family member AND a classroom member

B. describe how he/she/others are unique

A. describe how people are alike and different

Similarities and Differences

D. role-play having to make choices when purchasing

C. choose daily tasks

B. know everyone has wants

Making Choices

Descriptive Words

E. role-play jobs

D. represent objects in order like in environment

D. match job site to work done

C. match tool to job

C. make and walk on paths from one place to another

B. play using miniature vehicles, people, and blocks

A. identify name jobs people do

Describe features in the classroom, school, neighborhood, and community B. describe what people do at work

World of Work


History and Social Science

Social Skills

Talking and interacting with others helps children learn to express themselves. These interactions also help them develop self-control and problem solving skills. Their self images are developed as social skills are learned. Below are some ways to build your child’s social skills:

Talk about feelings and use words rather than their hands to solve problems or get help

Use good manners and polite words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

Clean up their own toys or room, pick out their own clothes, and help with other chores around the house

Spend time with other children in the neighborhood, at the park, at daycare, or in a play group

Create an “art” center at home and let your child make a

picture with paper scraps, practice cutting with scissors, and use a “little bit” of glue when designing their artwork

Spend time outside exercising— playing tag, learning

hopscotch, riding a bike, swimming, or climbing a jungle gym games or visit children’s websites

B. know that magnets stick together or push apart

A. use words “attracted to” and “not attracted to” to describe how magnets effect objects (stick or don’t stick)

Force, Motion, and Energy

F. identify five senses and matching body parts

E. compare length/weight of objects

D. make two groups using one characteristic (color, etc.)

C. put items in order by size

B. use pictures and words to describe an object

A. describe an object by observing

B. know that baby plants/animals are similar but not identical to parents and each other

A. know that living things need food, water, and air

Life Processes

F. know that water can be a solid, liquid, or gas

E. use the words over, under, in, out, above, below, fast, and slow to describe position and speed

D. use the words big, little, large, small, heavy, light, wide, thin, long, and short to describe size/weight

C. use the words rough, smooth, hard, and soft to describe textures and feel

C. learn how to conserve energy

B. know that some items can be reused

A. know that some items can be recycled


C. be familiar with the stages of animal and plant growth

B. sort and describe natural items like seeds, cones, and leaves

A. make daily weather observations

Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change

A. make a shadow and tell how it was made

A. identify 8 basic colors (red, yellow, blue, green, purple, orange, black, and white) B. tell the shape of an object (circle, square, triangle, and rectangle)

Earth/Space Systems

Do simple puzzles together Teach your child to use the mouse to play computer Matter

Opportunities for children to practice movement, balance, and coordination result in better physical and academic growth. Both small muscle (holding an object with your fingers) and large muscle (running and jumping) practice is necessary to develop strength and coordination. Brain development is connected to the physical development of children. Consider any of the following to support muscle development:

Scientific Investigation, Reasoning, and Logic


Physical Development

Geometry A. match and sort shapes (circle, square, triangle, and rectangle)

A. know that when you combine 2 groups, you have “added ” B. know that when you separate groups, you have “taken away”

D. use the words next to, beside, above, below, under, over, top, and bottom to describe position

C. point to a shape when the teacher says its name

B. tell how shapes are similar and different

D. use the words hour, day, week, month, morning, afternoon, night, and day to describe time

C. use patterns to help you predict

B. look at simple patterns

A. sort and classify items using one or more traits (color, size, shape, and texture)

Patterns and Relationships

C. use the words hot and cold to describe temperature


D. compare 2 groups using the words: more, fewer, and same

C. count 1-5 objects and know the last number is “how many”

B. use more, fewer, and same when describing data in object and picture graphs

A. collect information to answer children’s questions

Data Collection and Statistics

B. know the names for tools: clock, calendar, thermometer, ruler, measuring cup, and scale

A. use the words longer and shorter to describe length

A. count to 20 (using objects) B. one-to-one counting (touch and count each object)


Number and Number Sense


Section #4

Going to Kindergarten

Establish routines such as going to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends

Eat a healthy breakfast every morning Read together at the same time each day Ask your child how they feel about going to school Visit the classroom, school, and teacher before the Literacy

D. listen to words with more than one syllable D. use 2 words to ask/answer

F. use inventive spelling (the way it sounds to them) F. be exposed to new experiences to help build vocabulary

D. write 5-8 letters with a writing tool

C. write first name

B. copy & write using different writing materials

A. show the difference between print and pictures

Written Expression

F. turn one page at a time from front to back of a book

E. copy 3 to 5 simple words

E. notice letters in environment and ask how to spell words

D. read simple, familiar, common words (name too!)

C. provide most common sound for 5-8 letters

B. choose a letter to represent a sound (8-10 letters)

A. identify 10-18 uppercase letters (random order)

E. know the difference between pictures and words

D. show the correct direction to read

C. show where to begin reading on a page

B. find the title of a book

E. use new vocabulary and describe feelings and ideas

D. take turns while talking

C. follow one-step directions

B. listen with growing understanding

A. label object with word


G. listen during group

F. take turns/polite conversations

Letter Knowledge and Early Word Recognition

C. detect beginning sounds

C. make predictions

E. use appropriate language

B. identify and make rhyming words

B. identify characters, objects, and actions in books and spoken stories

A. find the front of a book

Attend the school’s family orientation evening A. identify similar and different sounds

who already attends the school

A. listen with growing attention

library, and clinic Print and Book Awareness

Tour the school to find the office, cafeteria, gym, Phonological Awareness

first day

Oral Expression

Visit the school’s playground on the weekend Eat lunch at the school with a sibling or neighbor PreK Foundation Blocks

Children will begin their journey to “the big school” filled with a huge range of emotions… happy, sad, excited, worried, anxious, curious, and scared. They will look to you for encouragement. By modeling excitement about kindergarten, you can reassure your child that school is fun! Any of the following ideas can help make those first few days easier for both of you:

Resources In this section, you will find a few resources that child care providers and preschool teachers may use to prepare your child for kindergarten as well as a birth certificate application in case you need it before registering your child for kindergarten. PreK Foundation Blocks: This document shows skills preschoolers should be working on before entering kindergarten. There are six different sections, one for each content area. As you play and interact with your child, note what skills your child can do by themselves. Pre-K Assessment: This document is available for all preschool teachers and child care providers. It is a short, one page form that provides parents and receiving kindergarten teachers with a quick snapshot of what each child knows upon entering kindergarten. Kindergarten Registration Process: Kindergarten registration takes place each spring and is for any child who will be 5 years old by September 30. Families are asked to register children in the spring and need to bring the child’s birth certificate and proof of residency. A school physical and immunizations can occur after registration but must happen before school starts. Birth Certificate Application: All school systems require a copy of your child’s birth certificate. In case you may have misplaced it or need a copy, you may complete this form and mail it to the address listed on the bottom of the application.

Section #5 Being Healthy in Kindergarten

All children benefit from healthy habits. Established while they are young, healthy habits help children: build strong hearts & brains, muscles & bones grow have energy maintain a healthy weight so they can avoid obesityrelated diseases like type 2 diabetes feel good about themselves be ready to learn in school

Talk with your child about why you and your family are making healthy choices.

How can I help my child eat better? shop, cook, and plan for healthy meals with your children offer your child a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains give children over age 2, fat-free or 1 milk encourage water instead of soft drinks limit the amount of sugar, salt, and fat let your child decide whether and how much to eat keep serving new foods even if your child does not eat them at first have family meals & serve everyone the same thing; turn off the television make sure they eat a healthy breakfast know how much food to serve your child do not use food as a reward or withhold food as a punishment

Section #6 Resources & Contacts

How can I help my child be active? play as a family focus on fun include children in household activities like walking the dog limit TV & other screen time to less than 2 hours a day be a role model, let them see you be active aim for a total of 60 minutes a day keep TVs out of children’s rooms don’t make exercise a punishment or withhold exercise as a punishment

Simple Snack Ideas: dried fruit and nut mix fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables or fruit served plain or with low-fat yogurt low sugar cereals served plain or with low-fat milk pretzels or air-popped popcorn whole grain crackers or bread with low-fat cheese, fruit spread, or peanut butter ***young children can easily choke on foods that are hard to chew, small & round, or sticky; carefully select snacks for children in this age group

How Much Is Enough? “Parents are often their children’s most important role model. Children who see parents enjoying healthy food and being physically active are more likely to do the same.” -Office of the Surgeon General

Quick child’s health reminder: 10, 5, 2, 1, 0 at least 10 hours of sleep each night at least 5 servings of fruits & vegetables each day no more than 2 hours of TV & screen time each day at least 1 hour of physical activity each day 0 sweetened beverages such as soda or fruit punch Adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Most children, ages 2 to 5, need between 1,000 and 1,600 calories a day. The amount your child needs depends on his/ her age, gender, body size, and physical activity level. To find your child’s pyramid, go to Do not use the pyramid to force more food or stop your hungry child from eating. Appetites change from day to day and each child’s needs are different. Your child may not eat much at one time. That is okay. Small amounts may be enough for a small stomach.


Serve small amounts Start with 1 tablespoon of each food for each year of his or her age  Plan for second helpings  Let your child’s appetite guide you Provided by: NIBBLES FOR HEALTH 2 Nutrition Newsletters for Parents of Young Children, USDA, Food and Nutrition Services

Kindergarten Parent Resource Guide  

Kindergarten Parent Resource Guide