With holiday hub-bub wrapped up, the calendar flipped to a new year, and warm-weather distractions still in the distance, this is the perfect “season” to focus on getting preschoolers ready for kindergarten.
To help with that, in November School Zone launched an exciting new feature in its Anywhere Teacher (AT) online learning destination: the Preschool Ad\venture path. It delivers playful, teacher-designed, structured learning aligned to standards, that guides little ones through the preschool curriculum.
Though expectations and assessment processes for kindergarten admission can vary somewhat from state to state, skills that are assessed generally fall into the categories of self-care skills, language skills, cognitive skills, gross motor skills, and fine motor skills.
Amanda Rock, writing last September for VeryWell Family, outlines common expectations and standards in each category in “What to Expect at Your Child’s Kindergarten Screening.” Some of the cognitive skills include “classifying and identifying objects by different variable, such as shape, color, size, etc.” The child “can recognize a pattern and identifying the next items in the sequence,” “can correctly identify their four colors,” “can identify some letter sounds,” “can count up to five objects,” and “recognizes their own name in writing.”
The Anywhere Teacher Preschool Adventure Path addresses those skills and many others, using a variety of colorful strategies in 19 progressive modules with associated “I Can” statements to make learning objectives really clear. Plus, those who sign up for the learning path receive free print materials via traditional mail that supplement the online learning and sharpen eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. For example, they can practice important kindergarten readiness skills such as folding paper, tearing paper, cutting with scissors, and gluing.
Parents also get notifications of additional School Zone print materials such as workbooks and flash cards that would complement various lessons.
As kids build skills and confidence moving along the AT preschool path, they also earn reward tokens that build anticipation and boost motivation. With these they can “buy” items for a dedicated, customizable Play Zone. While following the Adventure Path they learn the intrinsic value and satisfaction of learning by overcoming challenges and making progress but also the extrinsic relationship of effort and reward.
While parents can let kids follow the preschool Adventure Path on their own, knowing they are safe and secure, for maximum benefit, mom and dad’s oversight and participation is important. A section titled, “Parent Engagement with Student Online Learning Is Important,” from the Achieve Virtual Education Academy, which offers an alternative pathway to high school education, emphasizes that concept. While serving older students, the site offers important ideas about parents’ role in successful learning for kids of any age.
For example, it says, “Just like in traditional learning environments, a parent’s role and impact on student success is both critical and apparent.” They add that “Parents serve as a coach for their students, at any age, and support them through their learning process.”
A 2017 article by Martina Mahelova et al., in Cyberpsychology, the “journal on psychosocial research on cyberspace,” further addresses this. The authors note that “To understand parenting in the digital age, it is necessary to understand young children’s online behavior because the activities that children engage in with digital technologies can lead to experiencing different kinds of outcomes.”
With the Anywhere Teacher Preschool Adventure Path, a password-protected parent section provides controls for customizing content and viewing data on kids’ progress. Parents will also receive periodic progress reports by email if their children play the guided learning paths. These reports will, as noted earlier, suggest printed materials for purchase at schoolzone.com to reinforce and supplement their child’s Anywhere Teacher online skill practice.
The math is easy: preschoolers + engaged parents + Anywhere Teacher Adventure Path = an exciting, multifaceted approach to kindergarten readiness.