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English & Language Arts

Whether your child is a natural chatty Cathy or more of a shy Violet, you’ve likely noticed her conversation skills are seriously improving.

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You’ll hear a more nuanced vocabulary—including words and phrases she’s heard you use and those from her favorite books—worked into longer sentences. Instead of “bright” the sun may now be “glowing,” while food fresh off the grill isn’t just “hot,” it’s “going to burn my mouth.” It’s impressive to hear and a sign that she’s finding new ways to express her thoughts and personality.

Your Pre-Kindergartener

Other new breakthroughs: Letters! Point to any capital letter in the alphabet, and if she doesn’t recognize it on sight, just give her a few weeks. She’s also beginning to recognize the letters that make up her name and can call out other words that begin with those letters.

Books are also playing a bigger role in her life. When you read together, have her hold the book and turn the pages. As you reach the end of a page, ask her what she thinks about a particular character or illustration. This not only helps her develop her language skills but her storytelling skills as well. When she asks you questions about the book, try answering first, “what do you think?” and watching her rise to the challenge. No matter how she answers, you know she’s putting a lot of thought into it!

  • I Love to Talk to Everyone.

    Your chatterbug is using more and more words — both sharing his ideas and listening to others’ thoughts. In pre-K, his ability to follow directions with several steps, talk about his experiences and keep a conversation moving forward — on topic — grows each day. You’ll also hear his growth as he uses new words, uses action verbs in past, present and future ways and creates more complicated questions and sentences throughout the day.

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Listen for lots of chatter! A great program should be bursting with conversation, with plenty of listening, sharing, turn-taking and building on each others' ideas.

  • I Can Tell You What The Story is About.

    In pre-K, your little learner starts to understand more about letters and what they do, from individual sounds to the meaning of books. She not only understands that letters make sounds, but she’s adding rhyming and blending sounds to her word play. As she practices writing the letters in her name and favorite words, she’s also exploring uppercase and lowercase ABCs. Stories and books take on more life, too, as she builds pre-reader skills and can tell you more about the ideas, plot and characters she explores.

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Letters and books should be a natural part of the everyday classroom experience. Notice what kids of conversations take place between the teachers and children – are they discussing sounds, stories and authors?

  • I Can Tell You My Story.

    As he gets ready to start kindergarten, your child is also getting ready to be a real writer. That often looks like a mix of shapes, symbols, pictures and letters (and sometimes, words), but the main outcome will be sharing HIS ideas. Whether you record his made-up stories or he creates a birthday card for a friend, writing with a purpose — and doing it on purpose regularly — gets him ready for being a lifelong storyteller.

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Children should be writing and drawing each day. Are the children creating labels, letters, journal entries and more with a mix of both creative scribbles and recognizable letters?

Ideas to Learn and Play Together!

From bedtime to playtime your child is always learning. Check out these family-time ideas for building their skills -- and your family connections. All children learn and grow at their own pace and in their own way. For more information about the skills and milestones for your child's age check out our developmental milestones resource page. If you continue to have concerns or questions please give us a call at 1-800-299-1627.

  • Write to Me

    Keep a box or tray around the house full of writing supplies. Include blank paper, pens, pencils and markers for writing and drawing. Occasionally, add new items like stickers, stamps or envelopes. Your child builds hand strength and control when drawing symbols, letters and pictures.

  • Be the Star in a Story

    Make up stories with your child as the main character. While creating the story have your child dream up some of the parts. “Then (your little ones name) climbed the tallest mountain in the world! When he looked down he saw… What did he see? You finish it.”

  • Rhyme It

    You likely already know how much preschoolers love to make and play with rhymes! So, be silly & rhyme words anytime you can. Point out rhymes in books and songs. “That was a rhyme! Cat, hat, bat, sat!” Rhymes build phonemic awareness — which means it helps kids understand the sounds that make up words!

  • What's in a Name?

    Ask your child to sign their name to any artwork they do. After all, that is what any great artist would do! If they say they can’t, ask them if it would be okay if you do it, then say each letter as you write it! Remember, writing backwards and upside-down letters are normal. So don’t worry — they will figure it out eventually.

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