Kindergarten Prep Academy at Childcare Network

By: Nicole Wheeler

Kindergarten kids

The Kindergarten Prep Academy classes at Childcare Network have a unique program called the "Skill Building School Readiness" 20151119_104838or "SBSR" which has a special cart full of developmentally appropriate materials and activities that the teachers and children use together during learning center time. During most weeks throughout the year there are supplemental activity plans that the teachers use in small groups or individually with children. This special cart has engaging materials such as a Bingo Sight Words game, phonics flippers, beginning word sounds chart, and three unique STEM kits which include sink/float, magnet, and motion activities. This is a time used for intentional teaching to prepare the children for Kindergarten.

​Each week the families get a letter sent home that explain what the children will be gaining from that particular week's activities. During this 20151119_104445week, children were encouraged to draw a self-portrait. Children are asked to do this several times throughout the year and it is always fun to look back at how the children's self-portraits changed throughout the year! Drawing a self-portrait helps develop fine motor skills, observation and focusing skills, and shows self-concept with how the children view themselves. This is a fun activity that can be done at home with the whole family! If the children get stuck on what to draw next you can ask the children what color their eyes are, or how long their hair is. Invite them to look at themselves in a mirror if needed. Children can also practice writing their name on their portrait.

​The STEM kit featuring magnets has lots of engaging activities. The activity shown has lots of magnetic, brightly colored fish and a fishing pole with a magnet at the end. The teacher has a card displayed that is entitled "What's the fastest way to catch all the fish?" There are open-ended questions on the back to get the children to think about what the best option would be. The teacher has a chart to track the children's predictions, investigation, and results for viewing. The children enjoyed seeing how many fish they could collect with the magnetic fishing pole! The teachers made sure that their science area had plenty of different style magnets with items that could be picked up by the magnets for further exploring by the children. ​

This friend is learning all about the letter "O." The teacher has templates for all of the letters drawn on a piece of paper with a 20151119_104204marker. These can be laminated for multiple uses if desired. Provide play-doh and allow the children to form the letter with play-doh over the template. Assistance can be provided if needed. While the teacher is interacting with the children, she is engaging in conversation about the letter, letter sound, and words that begin with the letter. These words can be documented on sentence strips or chart paper and transferred to a word wall in the classroom. Are the children rolling, stretching, forming balls, or free forming the play-doh over the template? All of these manipulations are building their muscles and increasing fine motor control. After the letter is molded, encourage children to follow the letter with their finger and you can sing a fun letter-themed song! The letter "O" goes along to the tune of "Happy and You Know It."

Oh, I wish I was an orange octopus
Oh, I wish I was an orange octopus
Oh, I'd wave my lovely legs
And I'd splash in all the waves
Oh, I wish I was an orange octopus

Once the activity has been completed, you can introduce a fun "O" handwriting worksheet if desired. Worksheets should never be required or forced, but is an extra practice following an engaging activity for the children to practice their handwriting skills. Throughout the year, handwriting practice should be available for the children in the writing area of the classroom where children can informally practice their skills.

The SBSR learning time is a time for teachers to help children become prepared for Kindergarten and experience fun and exciting ways of learning through hands-on activities. At Childcare Network, we make our activities meaningful for the children so that learning can occur! We encourage families to ask questions about what their children are learning and to get ideas for fun activities that can be done at home!


teacher_1988-204x200Miss Amanda

Miss Amanda is the Education & Marketing Specialist for the Clayton, NC and surrounding area schools. She has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and Paralegal Technology. She is also wrapping up her Bachelors Degree in Early Care and Education. Amanda has over 9 years of experience working with children. Knowing that she is helping wire young minds for the future and setting the foundation for learning is her biggest reward. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Tags: Prek, Pre-K & School Age, kprep, Teacher Tools, Child Development, PreK teachers