Strong PreK program key to being kindergarten ready



CUMMING, Ga. — As parents of toddlers begin thinking about education for their children, one of the questions that frequently comes up is, “Will my child be kindergarten ready?”

So, just how does a child become kindergarten ready?

Many education experts agree that a strong PreK experience is key and that parents should look for specific criteria when researching PreK programs.

“Children who have never been away from parents in structured situations need to build confidence that other adults can love and care for them,” said Dana Oshinski, dean of academics, Prek/k at Pinecrest Academy, a Prek-12th Catholic school in Cumming. “The PreK experience gives children confidence in other adults.”

Additionally, studies show that children unknowingly desire and thrive in environments where they know what is expected of them. “Being in a more structured environment gives young children the stability needed to explore and learn,” said Oshinski.

The development of social skills is also an important benefit of a strong PreK program, as these skills will be very useful for a positive kindergarten experience. “When children are in a setting with other children, being lovingly supported by adults, they learn social skills needed to get along with others and to learn to support differences within and between one another,” added Oshinski.

PreK also provides for a smooth introduction to academics. “When a child is introduced to basic academic skills, like number and letter recognition, science and social studies topics, the stage is set for the mastery of these skills in kindergarten,” said Oshinski.

A strong PreK curriculum also gives an opportunity for new students to learn in a developmental and playful way, which also develops the thinking and processing skills needed for future learning. And PreK allows a young child time to learn ‘how to go to school,’ too. Because academics are not the sole reason for going to school at this age, these are the years where confidence can bloom as students learn school rules and procedures, and are exposed to leadership opportunities with different class job and experiences.

“PreK is a time to learn tracking skills, along with phonological and visual skills needed before successful reading and comprehension can occur,” said Oshinski. “We offer PreK3 and PreK4 programs at Pinecrest Academy, and depending on your child’s ‘readiness,’ two years of PreK curriculum could be an excellent plan for parents seeking a smooth transition into kindergarten,” Oshinski said.

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This article was published in the Aug. 7 issue of the Forsyth Herald.

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