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    General Skills
    Kindergarten can be a big transition! Here are some things that you can do to help your child get ready:
    - Practice eating "school lunch" by helping your child to independently unpack a lunchbox, open all containers and snacks, finish eating within a 20-25 minute time period, and clean up/throw away all trash.
    - Practice independently washing hands and disposing of a paper towel.
    - Practice using the toilet independently, including: undoing/redoing buttons, zippers, or clasps, using the toilet, wiping, flushing the toilet, then hand-washing. Be sure to help boys to practice their aim and to put the lid back down once finished. :)
    - Practice packing and unpacking materials into a schoolbag and putting papers into a folder
    - Practice putting on and taking off a jacket, including buttoning, zipping, etc. For the colder months, prating putting on and taking off hats, scarves, and gloves/mittens.
    - Practice shoe tying, if your child is ready!
    - Help your child practice writing or tracing his/her first name with a capital letter at the beginning and lowercase letters to follow.
    - Practice keeping supplies and belongings orderly, such as a pencil box and stack of books or papers (students will have both desks and cubbies to keep their belongings in).
    Helping your child to gain independence can be a scary thought, but Kindergarten is a time for growing and gaining independence and your help at home is much appreciated! 
    There are many ways you can help your child progress this year, and many do not require a great deal of time.  Kindergartners need to be exposed to all types of reading: identifying letters and words in text and in their surroundings, being read to daily, "pretend" independent reading, and finally independent reading.  Please believe me when I say that your participation at home shows in the classroom!
    - Help your child identify letters on billboards, at the grocery store, or on the food containers in your home. 
    - Provide your child with a newspaper or magazine and a pair of scissors.  Choose a letter and let your child find and cut out as many of that letter as they can.  They can also do this with our sight words.
    - Form letters using sand, shaving cream, or Play-Doh.
    - Practice letter sounds, isolating the first sound of a word.
    - Play rhyming games.
    - When reading with your child, begin by taking a "picture walk" (only look at the pictures).  Discuss what they see.  Then discuss the characters, setting, and make predictions.
    - Allow your child to look for words they know how to read in the story.  Remind your child to look at the picture and think about what would make sense.  Look at the word again and get your mouth ready for the beginning sound.  Finally, have your child reread the sentence to figure out what word would make sense that has that certain beginning sound.
    - When finished reading, ask your child to retell the story in their own words.  Revisit your predictions to see if they were correct or if they were surprised.  Ask what the liked/disliked about the story.  Did they have a favorite part or character? 
    A lot of our math curriculum is learned through exploration using manipulatives.  Helping your child to identify shapes, colors, and numbers will reinforce what they are learning in the classroom.  Students in kindergarten learn counting by 1's up to 100, counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's, identifying and creating patterns, sorting by size, shape and color, measurement, time, money, and even basic addition and subtraction up to 5.  The big question to always ask is.... How do you know?  Always have your child explain how they got their answer.  Knowing how to get the answer is just as important , if not more, than the answer itself.  Here are some fun, easy ways to provide practice at home.
    - Have your child identify colors, shapes, and numbers in their surroundings.
    - Use blocks, m and m's, or cereal to practice sorting, counting, and making patterns.
    - Use Play Doh and cookie cutters to practice making shapes.
    - Give your child a small amount of change to sort into groups.  Introduce the names of each coin.
    - Identify the clocks in your home.  Show them what time their favorite shows are on.
    -Have the help set the table.  Ask them to count the forks, plates, napkins.  Ask them what would be one more or one less.
    -Have them practice writing their phone number.