October 10, 2013
By Barbara Moore
On September 18, 2013, the Best Start South Los Angeles/Broadway-Manchester community partnership presented a Kindergarten Readiness Workshop at the Mark Twain Public Library.
The kindergarten workshop was developed and presented by three early childhood education consultants: Martiza Sanchez; Carolina Mercado; and Barbara Moore, who also serve in leadership roles with the Best Start South Los Angeles/ Broadway Manchester community partnership.
Getting kids ready for kindergarten is a primary goal of Best Start, a placed-based effort of First 5 LA. By focusing on parents, the workshop gave tips on how to encourage and motivate their children upon starting kindergarten. These tips included checking the school’s health requirements, taking your child for medical and dental check-ups and visiting the school with your child before kindergarten begins.
The trio of early childhood experts also recommended making play dates with child’s future playmates, and practicing any new routines at least one week before school starts. Parents were encouraged to set a regular bedtime, discuss bus and pedestrian safety and see their children off on the first day of school.
Once school starts, it’s helpful for parents to get involved— to ask questions, send notes and have the teacher update them often. It’s also important to attend parent-teacher conferences and volunteer their time if possible.
The latter part of the workshop consisted of parent and child make-and-take activities at four rotating learning centers. These activities showed parents how to make their own activities to do with children at home, which stressed color recognition, eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills and sorting by color using household items. Parents also received free backpacks with age-appropriate kindergarten school supplies.
This successful event was replicated a week later at St. John’s Well Child Center on September 27, which had over 100 parents and children in attendance.
Best Start is a place-based effort of First 5 LA that focuses on the places where children and their families live. Best Start reflects First 5 LA’s belief that if families are strong and communities support those families, then children will have a better chance to be healthy, safe and ready for school