Welcome to our Kindergarten Readiness blog series, a 5-part series that covers the most important kindergarten readiness topics. This week’s topic is all about Approaches to Learning Readiness for Kindergarten.
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KINDERGARTEN READINESS TOPICS
Check out the other topics in this Kindergarten Readiness blog series:
- Kindergarten Readiness Overview
- Language & Literacy
- Social Emotional
- Approaches to Learning (You are here)
- Parent Readiness
You can also check out my Kindergarten Readiness eBook for a printable version of this information.
THE POWER OF HAVING A GROWTH MINDSET
One of my very good friends taught kindergarten for seven years, so she’s an invaluable resource to me when it comes to kindergarten readiness.
When I asked her what skills she wished her students would have when they enter kindergarten, she didn’t hesitate when she answered.
It wasn’t knowing all of their letters and sounds.
It wasn’t counting to 100.
And it wasn’t even about sitting quietly on the carpet.
Her answer was simple.
“Kids who won’t take risks because they’re afraid of failing are the ones who struggle the most. If kids could enter my class with one skill, I’d want them to know it’s okay to try, even if they don’t get it right. I’d want them to have a growth mindset.”
The term Growth Mindset has become very popular in recent years. It comes from the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.
Growth mindset encourages kids to:
- Persevere in the face of failure
- Put in effort to build new skills
- Embrace challenges
- Understand that we aren’t born a certain way…we can build our abilities through failure, feedback, & learning from others
Today’s topic for kindergarten readiness is all about building that growth mindset through Approaches to Learning.
KINDERGARTEN READINESS: APPROACHES TO LEARNING
“Approaches to learning refers to behaviors that indicate ways children become engaged in social interactions & learning experiences.” -Arizona Early Learning Standards
Our preschoolers ability to stay focused, interested, and engaged in activities leads to positive cognitive, language, and social emotional development.
Approaches to Learning is one of the MOST important domains of early childhood because when our kids have positive experiences in learning, they are going to want to learn more and more!
It’s also key to success because it leads to the development of executive functioning skills.
In order to determine which skills our little ones need at the beginning of kindergarten, we first need to look at which skills they need when they leave pre-k.
There are many Approaches to Learning goals for our pre-k students, but they can be grouped into 5 main categories:
- Initiative & Curiosity
- Attentiveness & Persistence
- Confidence & Resilience
- Reasoning & Problem Solving
I’ll briefly explain each category and share tips for how you can work on these skills with your little one.
1. INITIATIVE & CURIOSITY
We want our preschoolers to exhibit a spirit of independence, resourcefulness, & motivation while participating in different activities & routines.
The Pre-K Exit goals related to initiative & curiosity include:
- Demonstrates flexibility, imagination, & inventiveness
- Shows interest in learning new things & trying new experiences
- Expresses interest in people & asks questions to get information
- Pays attention & can sustain attention when engaged in an activity
- Can return to activities after distractions & interruptions
Here are some ways you can model initiative & curiosity when talking with your preschooler:
- “I’ve always wanted to learn how to bake an apple pie. I’m going to read more about it and learn the steps so I can bake one this weekend. Is there anything new you want to try?”
- “Have you ever wondered what the clouds are made of?”
- “Want to build a castle with me? I was thinking we could use blocks and magnatiles. Do you have any ideas for what it should look like?”
- “What’s your favorite animal? Why is that one your favorite?”
- “I wonder where the water goes after we unplugged the bathtub drain. Do you have any ideas?”
2. ATTENTIVENESS & PERSISTENCE
We want our preschoolers to demonstrate persistence when engaging in what they’re doing so they can accomplish challenges at their level of development. The ability to persist in a task is a key foundation for all learning, especially in kindergarten!
The Pre-K Exit goals related to attentiveness & persistence include:
- Pursues challenges with a “can do” attitude
- Copes with frustration or disappointment independently or with support
- Establishes goals, generates plans, and follows through to completion
Here are some ways you can model attentiveness & persistence when talking with your preschooler:
- “Oh man, my block tower fell over. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because I built it up too high without a wide-enough base at the bottom. I’m going to try again with a wider base.”
- “This new dinner recipe looks complicated. I’m just going to take it one step at a time and do my best. Want to help me cook?”
- “Let’s set a timer and see how much we can clean up in 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, we’ll have a dance party!”
- “I was super bummed when my friend canceled our dinner plans tonight. Have you ever felt disappointed when something didn’t happen that you were looking forward to?”
- “Let’s set a goal to read a book every single day this month! At the end of the month, we can have a family book party to celebrate.”
3. CONFIDENCE & RESILIENCE
We want our preschoolers to feel positive about themselves and their ability to do things. Confidence is supported by a mindset of resiliency, and confident kids are willing to take more risks, express/defend ideas, try new experiences, and engage in challenging tasks.
The Pre-K Exit goals related to confidence & resilience include:
- Expresses opinions or ideas
- Views self as competence & skilled
- Willing to take risks & consider a variety of alternatives
- Resilient when approaching challenging tasks
Here are some ways you can model confidence & resilience when talking with your preschooler:
- “I’m a confident swimmer because I took swim lessons as a kid. I’m proud of how hard you’re working in swim class, and I can’t wait for you to learn the backstroke.”
- “Do you think we should have dinner or dessert first tonight? Why do you think that?”
- “You’ve worked so hard on your cutting skills. Can you cut these coupons out for me? I need to take them to the grocery store.”
- “Want to try climbing to the top of that tree? I know it’s tall, but we can do it!”
- “Writing your name is a new skill that you’re just learning. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If you get frustrated, tell your brain ‘I’m still learning’ and keep trying.”
We want our preschoolers to express their own unique way of seeing the world. Creativity is not limited to art, dance, or music. Creativity involves problem solving, coping with new situations & problems, and seeing things from a different perspective.
The Pre-K Exit goals related to creativity include:
- Uses imagination to generate innovative ideas & play
- Displays curiosity & acknowledges others’ perspectives
Here are some ways you can model creativity when talking with your preschooler:
- “It looks like my train track isn’t long enough to make it across the room. Any ideas on how we can fix it?”
- “Can you show me how you draw a cat’s face? I can’t seem to get it right.”
- “Let’s paint with watercolors today. I wonder what will happen when we mix the red and yellow paint together.”
- “What can you make out of this play dough?”
- “Let’s put on a play for Grandpa. We can act out our favorite nursery rhyme.”
5. REASONING & PROBLEM-SOLVING
We want our preschoolers to think logically by using their prior knowledge & information to generate a decision or conclusion. These skills help our preschoolers work cooperatively and solve problems independently.
The Pre-K Exit goals related to reasoning & problem-solving include:
- Gathers & analyzes information to reach a conclusion
- Recognizes relationships between cause & effect
- Connects prior experiences with new learning
- Able to find out what is wanted or needed to solve a problem
- Defines the problem & brainstorms ways to solve it
- Chooses a solution to try & checks in to see if the solution worked
Here are some ways you can model reasoning & problem-solving when talking with your preschooler:
- “This room is a mess! Let’s set a goal to clean up as many toys as we can in five minutes.”
- “When you took the toy from your brother, he started crying. Why do you think that happened?”
- “It looks like I’m too short to reach the top shelf to get the art supplies. Do you have any ideas how I can reach it?”
- “Let’s read this book about polar bears. Remember when we learned that polar bears live where it’s very cold? What other animals live where it’s cold?”
- “My friend is having a problem taking turns with her daughter on the computer. I wonder how they could solve their problem?”
KINDERGARTEN READINESS E-BOOK
Would you rather have this information as a PDF download so you don’t have to navigate to all the different pages on my website? Check out my Kindergarten Readiness eBook and save yourself time!