Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kindergarten Readiness

Wow- my baby girl is starting Kindergarten this year! It is hard to believe, that this time has already come. In the years of her life, I thought I had prepared it for this day. The next paragraph--may sound like bragging, so if you would like to skip it over it, you may.

Alexis has known how to spell and write her name since she was 2.
She has been able to count to 20 since she was 2.
She knows how to do simple addition and subtraction using more than one method. (counting fingers, counters, drawing dots, starting to count up).
She can identify every letter and tell you the sound they make with 90% accuracy (some letters make more than one sound, and some sounds are made by more than 1 letter).
She can sound out and spell most 3 and 4 letter words.
She uses imaginative spelling for longer words.
She has been exposed to many types of print--and several genres of literature.
She has been surrounded by books her whole life.
She has started to recognize fractions while we cook together.
She can explain in depth the life cycle of a butterfly.
She can recite the days of the week and the months of the year.
She knows her colors including the order of the rainbow.
She uses words like "blueprints" and "evidently," in her every day conversation.
She knows her address and her mother and father's names in case she is lost.
Plus, many other things she always seems to amaze us with---

Now,  of course, if you ask her--she learned all of these things from one person..."Dora." ;)

So, with a 4 year old, who knows ALL of this...why is it--that I can be made to feel so completely inadequate in teaching my daughter- when I go to Kindergarten Roundup, and I hear these words.

"In your packet, you will find a booklet of nursery rhymes--if your child does not know these, work on these this year. It has been shown that children who come to school with the knowledge of these nursery rhymes are better students."

WAIT?! WHAT?! Now, don't get me wrong--my daughter has heard the nursery rhymes at one point or another. Have we repeated them for memorization? Absolutely not. I thought--it would be better to stretch her imagination and literature experience by reading, "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," "Kit Kittredge" chapter books...and so on.

I sat there, not thinking of all that my daughter knows--but, that I had somehow failed her by not teaching her these nursery rhymes. Could school readiness be that simple? Did I miss the boat, somehow? My daughter, who has never entered a school building (aside from helping me with cheerleading practices in Elementary School, when she was 2) can read/write/compute/reason/communicate efficiently --and I feel like it's not enough.

I guess tomorrow, we will start on learning nursery rhymes ;). If she learns them- great. If not, that's okay too-- because I know she will succeed in school, not because she knew her nursery rhymes, but because she is successful in everything she does. :)

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