A few days ago, I visited my daughter’s classroom for a “gallery tour” of the “self portraits” the kids had been working on for a few weeks in art. The kids proudly walked their parents through the classroom, sharing the different portraits and pointing out the subtle differences in each beautiful drawing. “Addie has green eyes and brown skin and I have green eyes and peach skin. See mommy.” Without judgment or discomfort, my daughter talked about the colors and features that made her and her friends different. At a time when many of us are wondering how to talk about diversity with our kids, my daughter’s gallery tour was a powerful reminder of how much we can learn from our own children. I’m happy to say that we can also learn a lot from our Mom friends.
It’s back to school season and many young learners are embarking on an entirely new adventure – kindergarten! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students enter kindergarten at very different skills levels, which is natural given that children may be coming from a variety of early childhood experiences, ranging from highly-skilled-focused pre-K programs, play-based preschools, Head Start, or no preschool at all. An average kindergarten class may have children with a five-year skill range in terms of reading ability, from children who don’t recognize letters or letter sounds to those who can read short books.
It might sound obvious, but a strong early start in reading and math is crucial for young children. Early math and literacy skills are highly predictive of later success in school and beyond. In fact, research shows that children who read for pleasure are more likely to do better in reading AND math than children who don’t.
Guest post by Alicia Wieser with The Parenting Journal
We know reading with our children is critical, but did you know that there are specific ways to read with your child that improve your child’s future academic skills? A new study shows that a specific type of reading – explicitly “quality reading” – leads children to have better reading skills and literacy skills in kindergarten than those children who do not engage in this “quality reading.”