The kindergarten milestone is looming in the near future, and you wonder if your preschooler is ready for the next steps. Will he be prepared for what is coming? Use basic guidelines of mathematical concepts to help him learn the foundation of math principles before his pre-kindergarten screening. It doesn’t have to become an overwhelming ordeal; hide the lessons in everyday conversations and activities.
The goal for an incoming kindergartner is to count to 20. She may get her teens mixed up, but by practicing once a day, she will grow comfortable with saying the numbers in order. Make it enjoyable by counting out pennies, cereal pieces, jelly beans or building blocks. By connecting that number with an image of objects, she is bringing her knowledge to a tangible level, which will serve her well in school.
Shapes and Organization
By age 5, your little one should be able to recognize basic shapes. Practice this activity by jumbling a collection of wooden shapes and asking him to point out the shape you request. Praise him for finding the right shapes. Help him with his tactile learning by having him trace a certain shape and then draw it for himself. After he’s practiced the shape, go on a shape scavenger hunt together, finding rectangles in houses, triangles in teeter-totters and circles in the traffic lights.
Which is longer? Which is smaller? These are questions your little learner should be able to answer as she prepares for kindergarten. Practice holding two objects side by side, such as two pencils or two blocks, and ask her to find the longer or smaller one for you. For another kinesthetic learning experience, assign her to sort the dreaded sock pile on laundry day. Ask her to put all the socks in piles according to their color and size -- parent-sized compared to kid-sized. Although it may seem like simple chore, the task is exercising her measurement and organizational skills.
Patterns and Reasoning
Reasoning through a sequence of events is another skill that develops in the earliest years. Can your preschooler remember three directions at a time? Practice giving him steps like taking his plate to the sink, rinsing it and putting it in the dishwasher. Can he reason through a series of events for what would happen in order? Show him jumbled story pictures such as a little boy buying ice cream, eating an ice cream cone and then looking down at melted ice cream on his shirt. Ask your preschooler to organize the pictures according to what happened first, second and third. For another test of his verbal reasoning ability, ask your little one to tell you about what he does after he wakes up in the morning.
As your preschooler approaches kindergarten, he should have a general sense of time by being able to tell you if something happened yesterday or today, or if it will happen tomorrow. If he doesn’t remember the days of week or months of year just yet, make up a song to help him remember. Use a calendar while you sing to show him what month or day goes with the name, and discuss what things happen in the various months.