Guest post by Calgary Reads
Hello everyone! My name is Tukay!
I’m about 2000 days old, which is where I got my name (2K, get it?). And guess what? I am SO ready for kindergarten! I want to put all my great skills to the test. All the things that special adults in my life have been helping me with since even before I was born! They found out about how to build my brain from other adults who are working hard to spread the word (thanks, United Way!). They knew that I’d have a much better start in life if I was doing well in these “five developmental areas” everyone keeps talking about.
Oh! You want to learn more about them? Sure! Here’s what they look like for most kids my age (although everyone is different, and some of my friends have exceptional needs and skills):
Physical Health and Well-Being (I call this “DOING”)
- I can climb big things and hold tiny things.
- I’m ready for school: dressed, nourished, and rested.
- I have enough energy to last the school day.
Emotional Maturity (I call this “FEELING”)
- I’m able to deal with feelings (for my age level).
- I can control some of my impulses and fears.
- I am able to focus on activities.
Communication Skills and General Knowledge (I call this “EXPRESSING”)
- I can tell you what I need without whining or fussing.
- I can tell you factual or imaginative stories.
- I can say words clear enough for a stranger to understand me.
- I can play in imaginary worlds.
Social Competence (I call this “PLAYING”)
- I accept responsibility for my actions.
- I show respect for others.
- I can be comfortable in a group or on my own.
Language and Thinking Skills (I call this “LEARNING”)
- I’m interested in reading, writing, and telling stories.
- I can recognize letters and numbers (at my age level).
- I can recognize shapes, sizes, and colours.
- I easily remember things (probably better than you can)!
So now that you understand a little bit more about the five areas, you probably want to know how I KNOW I’m ready for kindergarten, huh? Here’s my checklist!
- Know my name and answer to it when it’s called
- Get dressed, with a little help
- Go to the bathroom by myself
- Open my lunch and snack containers
- Ask for help when I need it
- Take turns with my friends and with you
- Follow routines and schedules
- Listen to and follow directions
- Understand basic safety rules
- Feel good about trying new things
- Take part in group activities and have conversations
- Be curious
- Open books and show how much I love using them
- Run, catch, throw, jump, and tumble
- Be a helper
- Paint, draw, sculpt, and build items from my imagination
- Know that my body (especially my eyes, ears, and mouth) has been checked by health professionals right before I start school
If all that seems like a lot, have I got a secret for you! There’s one really simple thing you can do with me every day to make sure that I get these skills. Are you ready?
It’s reading a book aloud with me!
Here’s one of my important adults, Sharon from Calgary Reads, to tell you more!
Here’s why reading matters:
- It strengthens bonds – reading moments are special times that nurture loving bonds and give children the confidence to try new things.
- It stimulates empathy – children get the chance to expand their perspectives by talking about the thoughts and feelings of characters in books.
- It supports brain growth – reading and talking about ideas in a book reinforces neural pathways that build brains.
- It expands vocabulary – research shows the more words children know when they start school the better they’ll do.
- It develops cognitive skills – reading helps children think critically and communicate more effectively. It also stimulates their creativity and strengthens their ability to focus and concentrate.
- It fosters a love of learning – snuggling with your children while you share a book makes them feel good and the feeling of pleasure that comes from reading will last a lifetime.
Reading aloud with your children for at least 20 minutes every day will set them up for school and life success.
Thanks, Sharon! I know that when we read together, I feel loved, safe, strong, capable, fit, smart, secure and confident. So here I go off to kindergarten. No need to wish me luck, I got this!
About the author
Dr. Sharon Walker is the Director of Research & Early Years at Calgary Reads. Thank you, Sharon, for providing your insights on how to assist in a child’s healthy development! You can access more tips and tools on the Calgary Reads website under the Resources section. You can learn more about Tukay at www.2000days.ca