What should every child know by the time he or she starts first grade?
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Children should know how to count to 100. Know all their letters and sounds, be reading simple cvc words, how to write their names and a short sentence from a model or dictation.
My son is in kindergarten, and he's on his way to learning his letters, numbers, reading, printing his name, respect in the classroom, on the playground, for quiet time, his teachers, parents and so on and so forth. So what should he know by the time he starts grade one? I think he should know himself and his needs. Okay might sound strange, but I am teaching my son who can be shy and sometimes act up and hide due to his special needs, that he has a voice and should use it. His needs and wants can only be met if he has his voice, and communicating with others, his peers will only come if uses his voice (words) to explain things. We talk with our mouths not with our hands is something taught to our son early on, and I want that to continue. I want him to know that his voice is special, unique, powerful and if used correctly to ask questions, share insights, can provide him with long lasting efforts in school.
By the time a child starts first grade, every child should know that she is loved. He should know that he belongs to a family or a group and know that he is valuable and needed. She should know how to work diligently and be learning how to be a team player. He should know that even though the people he counts on mess up, they will ask for forgiveness, make amends, and always be loyal. She should know that work is good and has its rewards. He should know who to turn to for help.
At my school, we try to focus on making sure that our kindergartners learn their letter sounds, including long and short vowel sounds. We focus on word families and rhyming and being able to blend sounds to form simple words - ie /p/ /i/ /g/ spells "pig". We also want them to start learning some words by sight - our goal is for them to be able to read 100 words by the end of kindergarten - some exceed that and some fall short but that is what we work towards. We also want them to enjoy listening to stories and be able to answer simple comprehension questions, make predictions about what will happen next and identify front and back cover, title page, and describe the roles of authors and illustrators.
In math we want them to have one-to-one correspondence - counting one object with each number word. They should be able to count aloud to 50. They should be able to write their numbers to 50 although we work towards 100. They should have a basic understanding of addition and subtraction using concrete objects. They should know their basic geometric 2d and 3d shapes. They should be able to sort objects in two ways - for example color and shape or size, and extend simple patterns. They should be able to tell time to the hour on digital and analog clocks. They should know positional words like left and right, above, below on top of etc. They should know the days of the week and months of the year and that if today is Monday tomorrow is Tuesday and yesterday was Sunday. The should now ordinal numbers from 1st - 10th so they can identify who is 2nd in line or 4th for example. They should be able to measure objects using nonstandard units of measurement like blocks or paperclips.
Overall though, I'd like for children to know how to problem solve - for example if something gets knocked over or is out of place they know to fix it themselves rather than have to come to the teacher each time. They should know how to get along with other children, how to pay attention and follow directions. They should enjoy school and be eager to learn. If children are happy to be at school that can make up for a lot!
So many people are worried about their kids knowing their ABC's and 123's before they get to school. However, if you really want to make a teacher happy, I think you should teach them to sit quietly, to respond respectfully, to be obedient and treat their teacher and class mates as they would like to be treated. If children know these things, teachers can focus on their job, teaching ABC's and 123's instead of having to wasted time, effort, patience and energy on discipline issues.
Just a thought.