Parents and young children are getting a leg up on kindergarten thanks to a new program that provides early exposure to school.
The Pre-K Parent Academy creates a framework for kindergarten by exposing parents and children to subject goals and objectives that are measured within the first 30 days of kindergarten.
Each month, the program focuses on a different topic and rotates among Cape district elementary schools. In January, parents and educators met at Rehoboth Elementary, where they learned about language and literacy.
Diane Frentzel and Barbara Johnson of Delaware Readiness Teams instructed parents how to help children develop vocabularies and literacy skills at home.
“You can give clear and specific directions when making requests and read aloud from a variety of texts daily,” Frentzel said. “Tell stories without using books and talk about the meanings of new words.”
Language development includes social rules of communication, Frentzel said.
“This involves being polite, speaking so the listener understands, and turn-taking,” Frentzel said. “Model appropriate conversation skills so children can learn the social cues of language, such as please and thank you.”
To increase literacy, Johnson suggested singing songs, reciting poems and discussing words that rhyme.
“If you don’t do anything else, read aloud with your children,” Johnson said. “Ask them what happened and how they feel about the characters.”
While parents were occupied, teachers read to children and engaged them in corresponding activities in kindergarten classrooms. All families received a bag with children’s books and enrichment activities to continue working at home.
The Pre-K Parent Academy is a partnership between Delaware Readiness Teams of the Delaware Department of Education Office of Early Learning and Cape Henlopen School District. The next session, on science, is at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Love Creek Elementary. Find the schedule and RSVP at capehenlopenschools.com.