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Saving Money on Preschool: Readiness Skills Needed for Kindergarten

Living a Better Life® (from the editor's desk)
by Michelle Jones

As a mom of four whose youngest child is about to start Kindergarten this year, I'd like to share with you a few helpful things I've learned about Preschool over the last ten years. I'll also include a list of readiness skills every child can be learning at home; whether attending Preschool or not.

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Preschools, especially those taught in a church environment, are a wonderful resource that helps prepare children for regular school. Not to mention they also provide social interaction with children of the same age, and for a few hours each week, a much-needed break for Mom. Overall, we highly recommend them!

There's just one catch - Preschool is expensive!

Though I truly enjoyed successfully homeschooling our first child for preschool in 1994, by the time our next child was ready for preschool (in 1998) I also had a toddler at home (our third child), and another shortly on the way. My husband and I decided it was definitely time for some help, and somehow we managed to put our second child through preschool, as well as the third.  And the fourth - as I've already mentioned, will be graduating this year.

If you'd like to send your child to Preschool but would like to keep the costs down, try finding a school that offers just two days a week, that's what we did. Of course homeschooling would cost even less, but we realize that's not an option for everyone - especially working moms.

Whether you choose to home-preschool your child or send him/her to a local Preschool on a part-time basis, here's a suggested list of academic, physical and social skills every preschooler should be learning. If your child will be attending Kindergarten in the fall it would be a good idea to continue working on these things over the summer. Kindergarten is a lot tougher than it was even a few years ago, so the more prepared your child is the better off he/she will be!

You will find that Kindergarten Readiness lists will vary but this is a great list that covers the basics…

Academic Skills

Say the alphabet
Recognize own name, and letters in name
Recognize as many letters as possible (A-Z)
Count to 10
Recognize numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Count items
Name the basic colors (blue, red, yellow, purple, green, orange, white, brown, black)

Physical Skills

Care for personal needs (Use restroom, wash hands, fasten clothes, wipe nose, etc…)
Catch item tossed underhand
Walk up and down stairs
Use pencils and crayons
Use scissors & glue stick
Stack blocks
Put toys and class items where they belong

Social Skills
(These are always a work in progress!)

Shares and takes turns
Sits quietly and listens in group setting
Follows directions
Demonstrates good manners while eating
Respects other students and adults
Respects other's belongings and class items
Expresses thoughts and feelings clearly

And a Note About Reading… 

Depending on your local school system, children now begin reading in either Preschool or Kindergarten. It is very important that your child be familiar with the letters of the alphabet and if possible, even the sounds each one makes. Knowing the letters will make the transition to reading much easier.

Throughout the early school years, teachers will often remind you how important it is to read to your children every day. You can make it a special time by letting the child choose the book to be read, and ask them questions about the story as you go - this will also help them develop good comprehension skills, which are needed throughout life.

Enjoy these early years together, they grow up so fast!

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