KIDS Can Help You Support Your Kindergartener

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.

Helping Your Incoming Middle Schooler Prepare

Moving from elementary school to middle school can be a scary time. Whether it’s worrying about being a 20-year-old sixth-grader still trying to figure out how to open the lock on their locker, concerns about moving from class to class on their own, or how to deal with walking down the eighth-grade hall, middle school provides a lot of new experiences. Getting Smart has a great conversation starter for you and your incoming middle schooler to discuss their concerns about this transition with seven things your soon-to-be middle schooler should know.

The article focuses on seven things a teacher would like to talk to her children about doing in middle school. They are:

  1. Get uncomfortable
  2. Make a friend
  3. Find something you are great at
  4. Respect the things you struggle with
  5. Make a mistake
  6. Choose kindness
  7. Apologize

In addition to these growth-oriented topics, the article also covers some of the logistical questions to discuss with your child about how to find their way from class to class, how the rules may be different from elementary school, when and where to eat lunch, and other practicalities. Check out the full articleto help you prepare to support your child in this big transition.

Celebrating Apollo 11

Fifty years ago tomorrow, humans first walked on the moon. For some of us, it may have been one of our first memories of an historical event, with our parents waking us up a few hours after our bedtime or letting us stay up late to see those first steps. The Apollo missions also inspired a generation of youth to go into science and engineering. If you’ve got a child interested in the moon landings, NASA has a website dedicated to celebrating the 50thanniversary and looking forward to the future.

On the website, you’ll find things such as:

The website is chocked full of resources that lets you and your child relive the historic moon landings and provides a great way to get your child interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Your PTA can follow up this fall by hosting a STEM + Families event. Two grant opportunities are open now through September 8, 2019 to provide funding and resources for local PTAs and PTA Councils to host a STEM + Families event.

How to Respond to Your Teenager

The teenage years are often fraught with tests of a parent’s patience. As they struggle with their growing independence, they often say things that make a parent’s hackles rise. All Pro Dad details how to handle six things that teenagers often say that help you avoid an angry confrontation, turning it into an opportunity for conversation and growth.

These six phrases are something almost every parent hears out of their teenager at one time or another. They are:

  1. “It’s not fair.”
  2. “Everyone else is allowed to…”
  3. “This sucks.”
  4. “You can’t make me.”
  5. “Whatever.”
  6. “I hate you.”

Read the article to learn how to handle these difficult phrases when your teenager fires one of them off at you. Doing so will help you keep your teen communicating with you and lay the groundwork for the sometimes difficult conversations you have to have with them.