Pre-K: Preparing for Kindergarten! (Ages 4-5)
Children Central utilizes HAPPILY EVER AFTER, a reading readiness program, which is part of the SuperKids Reading program used by Neshaminy and many other school districts. It is designed to give children the foundation they need to be successful when they begin formal reading instruction in kindergarten. Beautifully illustrated selections of children’s literature are the basis of the 10 units in the program. This excellent program includes classic stories to help build vocabulary, and strengthen letter writing and recognition skills, to prepare our Pre-K class well for kindergarten. We end the school year with a very fun and entertaining cap and gown graduation ceremony! The class is then ready to join Cub Camp during the summer months, which is both fun and educational, as we make sure the children are prepared to begin kindergarten in the fall.
Here’s Why Our Reading Program Works
|Early reading skills are most effectively taught when integrated with the other language arts.
Reading instruction works best when it keeps children constantly engaged in writing, listening, and speaking. This is the integrated approach used in Happily Ever After. Children listen to stories and discuss them. Children see you write and write themselves by dictating their ideas to you. Children begin to understand that written words stand for spoken thoughts and that communication is the goal of all the language arts.
|Explicit instruction supports children at every step.
A good readiness program assumes nothing. Instead, it carefully breaks down and explains tasks. For example, children aren’t just asked to draw a line. First they learn what a dot and a line are. Then, on pages that show a dot at the left of a line, they learn to put a crayon on the dot and trace the line from left to right. After this, they draw a line independently. Finally, only after learning through concrete activity the meaning of under, are children asked to draw a line under something and introduced to the word underline. This careful, explicit, systematic approach makes all children successful, task by task, and gives them the strongest possible foundation for learning to read.
A multimodal approach engages all children.
Children, like all of us, learn through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities. Strengthening children’s ability to learn in all the modalities prepares them for reading (which involves mainly the visual modality), spelling (auditory), and writing (kinesthetic). Multimodal practice helps children master skills and concepts regardless of their strengths and weaknesses or preferred learning style. Throughout Happily Ever After, children learn new skills, concepts, and vocabulary by seeing and hearing examples, as well as by participating in physical activities that reinforce their meaning.
Motivation is key to children’s success.
Happily Ever After includes beautifully illustrated stories, lively discussions; and a great variety of hands-on activities, group games, and art projects—all of which delight children. Throughout the program, clear instruction builds success step-by-step, giving children confidence as they develop the skills they need to learn to read.
What Teachers Say
|“I am a huge fan of Happily Ever After. It provides a variety of classic stories—as well as new ones—that allow us to explore different countries. The children have ‘visited’ China, a Mexican village, the jungles and savannahs of Africa, the big cities, and rural areas. My students have gone above and beyond what I could have ever expected them to do!”
|“The literature selection keeps the children happily engaged in learning. The ease of administering this program makes it wonderful for teachers. Parents are very pleased with the progress their children have made with this program.”
|“In addition to the literature and listening skills, children are learning the practical skills they need to succeed in kindergarten: above, under, circle, draw a line, underline, put an X on, and so on. I also like the incorporation of first, next, and last. I like the group activities, too. When children leave my class, I know they will succeed in any kindergarten classroom.”
“Students who attend high quality Pre-K are more likely to read at grade level by 3rd grade – a critical measure of future success in school and success later in life.” Source: Center for Public Education
|Development of language and vocabulary
To succeed across curricula in future years, children must develop concepts and vocabulary to comprehend written and spoken language. Happily Ever After builds this foundation by anchoring instruction in classic stories from children’s literature. Children listen to a well-known story in the first lesson of each unit and return to it again and again as they move through the other lessons in the unit. The story gives them a common framework for new words and concepts.In addition, new vocabulary, skills, and concepts are introduced in a concrete way through a game that relates them directly to the familiar, physical world. In this way, instruction always proceeds from the concrete to the abstract.
|Fine motor skills
Ultimately, children need to develop fine motor skills to be able to write. To build these skills, Happily Ever After provides constant practice in cutting, folding, coloring, gluing, tracing, and drawing. Happily Ever After builds children’s fine motor skills through practice, practice, practice—but practice that takes place in the context of activities children enjoy.Direction-following skills
Success in school depends on children’s ability to understand instructional vocabulary and follow directions. Following directions involves good listening skills and concentration, often applied to multi-step instructions. It also requires familiarity with common school tasks, such as circling an answer or drawing a line across or under. Happily Ever After builds children’s ability to follow directions by teaching the necessary skills systematically and explicitly and giving children the opportunity to apply the skills in every lesson.Listening skills
To learn to read and spell, children must become conscious first of environmental sounds and then of sounds that make up speech, such as words and syllables. Finally, they must learn to hear phonemes, the small units of speech that correspond to letters. Happily Ever After carefully builds this sensitivity to sounds through direct instruction and daily routines. Children must also learn to attend thoughtfully to the teacher, to the narrator in CD lessons, and to other children. Those listening skills are developed in every activity throughout the program.