Every year, about 150,000 Illinois five-year-olds have their first day of kindergarten. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has recently begun measuring kindergarten readiness as a way to improve this critical first year of school. The measure, known as Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS), uses teacher observation of daily classroom activities like playing, working, and lining up during the first few weeks of school. ISBE has also created a family toolkit to help new kindergarten parents better support their child and build a solid foundation for their education.
KIDS is not a pull-out test, but simply kindergarten teachers observing their students throughout the day during the beginning weeks of school, looking at four key components for education success:
- Approaches to Learning and Self-Regulation
- Social and Emotional Development
- Language and Literacy Development
- Cognition: Math
By understanding their students’ strengths, challenges, and dispositions, kindergarten teachers will be able to better support and build on what those students already know and can do.
Because family engagement is a critical part of student success, ISBE has created a family toolkit to help families understand the KIDS measure and to provide at-home activities to support their child’s education. The toolkit includes:
- An overview of the KIDS measure in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Tagalog, and Urdu
- An introduction video in English and Spanish
- 14 at-home activity sheets in the four domains in both English and Spanish
Sending your child off to kindergarten is often a big event for families. Your PTA can help make the transition a little smoother for those new kindergarten parents in your school by sharing the KIDS family toolkit with them. Doing so is also a great opportunity to invite them to join your PTA and support the work you are doing for student success at your school.