What Kindergarten Teachers Wish Parents Knew

  1. Kindergarten is not what it used to be. With increasing numbers of children attending preschool and schools across the nation instituting PreK and full-day kindergarten programs, students are not only entering kindergarten more prepared to learn but also have more time in which to do so.
  2. Kindergarten is a much more academically rigorous environment than many parents remember. Your kindergartener will be learning much more than how to share and use classroom materials. Be prepared to see your child’s reading skills blossom and her mathematical mind challenged.
  3. Volunteering in the classroom isn’t the only way you can help out.  Kindergarteners do a significant amount of hands-on learning and projects, meaning teachers often have a lot of prep work and non-budgeted expenses. Offering to provide the materials for a project or sending in staples like reclosable plastic bags, paper cups, napkins or tissues can save a teacher huge out-of-pocket expenses. Or, if you’re crafty, your child’s teacher would probably love to have you cut out or assemble project pieces at home.
  4. Learning is a full-time endeavor and you are your child’s primary teacher. Learning doesn’t begin at 9:00 and end at 3:00. Your child is going to learn a lot and be exposed to new ideas in school, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to keep that learning going. In fact, teachers rely on parents reinforcing newly learned skills as a way to promote ongoing scholastic success.

Spotlight – Brookshire Elementary Swim Lessons

Students in Kindergarten, First and Second grades at Brookshire recently completed eight weeks of weekly swim lessons.  From August 24 through October 23, each K-2nd classroom swam once per week during one of their PE periods.  The swim lessons are made possible through a grant from the Track Shack Foundation a generous in-kind donations in the form of staffing and facility costs through the YMCA of Central Florida.  Additionally, each class recruits parent volunteers to help the classroom teacher walk the children to and from the pool and supervise on the deck during the lessons.

Led by Brookshire Elementary PE Teachers and Healthy School Team Leader, Coach Randi Topps, swim lessons focus on learning water safety behaviors and basic swimming skills.  Because Coach Topps makes the swim lessons fun, by the end of the eight week unit, most children develop a love for swimming and understand it’s an excellent opportunity to participate in a fun form of exercise.  Many second grade students have advanced swimming skills by the time they complete the second grade swimming unit and a considerable number of Brookshire students even go on to participate in scouts aquatic programs,  competitive swim programs, synchronized swimming, water polo, swim camp,  or triathlon camp.

Way to go Brookshire and Coach Topps!

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Study Finds Early Social and Emotional Skill Development is Linked to Adolescent and Adult Well Being

rwjf kindergarten

Photo courtesy of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation –

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study indicates kindergarten students who are more inclined to exhibit “social competence” traits, such as sharing, cooperating, or helping other kids, may be more likely to attain higher education and well-paying jobs. In contrast, students who exhibit weaker social competency skills may be more likely to drop out of high school, abuse drugs and alcohol, and need government assistance.

The 20 year retrospective study looked at a cohort of 753 Kindergarten students.  The key findings show that social competence in kindergarten was a consistent and significant indicator of both positive and negative future outcomes across all major domains: education, employment, criminal justice, substance use and mental health.

For more information on this study, click here.

Winter Park Health Foundation offers CHILL, Community Help & Intervention in Life’s Lessons, to help students develop social and emotional skills to support their development into adolescent and adult well being.   CHILL is a free counseling program for students of all ages in the public schools serving Winter Park and neighboring communities.  Students can also utilize CHILL for help with issues such as divorce, grief and loss, low self-esteem, anger management and depression. CHILL Counselors focus on prevention and early intervention programs. There is no cost to students or families.

CHILL is one of several programs the Foundation supports to care for the health of the whole child, in the belief that Healthy Kids Make Better Students and Better Students Make Healthy Communities

For more information about CHILL, click here.

5 Child Care Programs Got Moving with GeoMotion

Five Child Care Programs GeoMotion 1On January 23rd, thirteen directors and teachers of 3-5 year-olds gathered at the Winter Park Community Center to take part in a special training program provided by GeoMotion in partnership with Nemours Florida Prevention Initiative.  Through the use of short videos, GeoMotion is a movement-based product that encourages learning and academic achievement of various subject areas while providing physical activity in the classroom.  Five child care sites including Winter Park Day Nursery, Welbourne Nursery and Kindergarten, Aloma Kids Academy, The Learning Tree and Terrific Kids Child Development Center participated in this training as part of a pilot program for their participated in the Nemours Healthy Habits for Life:  A Child Care Obesity Prevention Initiative.  Each of these sites got moving with the videos and Learnercise mats for themselves before taking it back to incorporate more physical activity in their classrooms.