I’ve received many calls within the past two weeks from panicky parents about kindergarten test prep. Applications, tours and interviews are in full swing for NYC kindergarten admission for the fall of 2012. A child takes kindergarten admission tests by a required date to complete the application process.
Some parents who have not yet provided kindergarten test prep are wondering what the best last minute activities are to prepare their child for kindergarten tests.
The skills required for kindergarten tests and the activities completed in my kindergarten prep sessions are best taught over a six to twelve month period. If its crunch time for your child, here are a few important kindergarten games to play and skills to build:
1. Help your child to sit and attend to books and games he or she will happily enjoy for about 60 minutes.
2. Teach your son or daughter to define everyday words. For example, “What is a cup?” or “What is a blanket?” Sometimes task directions require practice. Playing a vocabulary and word reasoning game such as Hedbanz can be motivating and make kindergarten test prep fun!
3. Block play - create a design or pattern with colored blocks or tiles. Have your child copy your design and you can copy your child’s. As bicolored blocks are used during testing, choose two colors of construction paper and cut out two triangles from at least eight 4×4 squares. Tape the triangles together to form bi-colored squares. Practice making larger triangles, stripes and larger squares with the bicolored squares. Try Pixy Cubes too.
4. Help your child understand analogies by talking about how and why things go together. Check out this analogy puzzle.
5. Make your child think! Ask open ended questions for your child to formulate meaningful verbal responses. For example, “Why is it important to brush your teeth?” “Why should you eat healthy food?”
As a parent myself, I know how it can be difficult to work with your own child. If you’re looking for guidance in helping your child get ready for kindergarten or for kindergarten test prep, please feel free to contact me and we can make a plan that’s a good fit for you and your child.
Stephanie Sigal works with children in their Upper East Side, Manhattan homes. firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-295-4473.
New York City kindergarten admission tests require children to have a versatile vocabulary.
Reading books, excursions to Manhattan museums and routine walks around the city provide opportunities to expand your child’s vocabulary. But, what if you’re not exactly sure about effective ways of doing so?
Practice labeling similarities and category naming! Once you start you’ll see how easy it can be to periodically ask your child these types of vocabulary questions.
Place two or more related pictures or objects in front of your child one at a time and encourage him or her to label each one (e.g., cow, pig, chicken).
Then, prompt: “They are all _____”. If your child says “animals,” respond “Yes! They are all animals – what kind of animals are they?”
If your son or daughter doesn’t come up with “farm animals,” provide another cue: “Where do these animals live?”
If the “where” question is too difficult, provide choices (e.g., Does the cow, pig and chicken live on a farm or in the ocean?).
Always provide positive reinforcement. Provide enough hints to allow your child feel successful.
When these games are mastered, try category labeling / similarities without props. You can make up the questions, or try the reference list below.
For motivation, have your child take a turn at a board game (e.g., Candyland) or place two Perfection pieces (with the timer off) after attempting to answer a question. (To celebrate your child’s success, allow the pieces to pop when all the spaces have been filled.)
For a child that would appreciate movement, allow a turn at Twister or make up your own narrative to Hullabaloo (the recording will go too fast to answer your category questions simultaneously). Hullabaloo is a category game in itself!
You can engage your child in category naming / similarities two ways – the first is to list items like: “Trumpet, flute, piano they are all_____.”
The second is to label the category and have your child name three items that fit into the category (e.g., Tell me three things you do in the summer.)
More to try - Name three:
Stephanie Sigal provides private:
My son is almost three and I’m nervous about Manhattan kindergarten admission tests. Is there anything I can do to start to prepare?
The overflowing toy bin in your apartment may not be much fun for your child because he can probably only play with what is on the top. How can you maximize your toy selection for fun and learning?
I always encourage parents to have only a few classic-type toys (e.g., toy food and kitchen equipment, blocks, vehicles, animals, little people, puzzles, string beads, etc.) available for everyday independent play, which should be rotated on a weekly basis to maintain interest.
There should also be additional toys and games that are saved exclusively for playtime with you. While pretend play is a priority for you to engage in with your toddler, some early structured play could be helpful for building attention, language and thinking skills.
The recommended tools below should be used with supervision because of potential choking hazards, but more importantly to help your child be successful and have fun.
Everyday errands and chores can be transformed into learning. Trips to Manhattan museums (The American Museum of Natural History and The Metropolitan Museum of Art are the best for vocabulary) and reading the right children’s books can make the time you spend together invaluable. Your toddler will love you more for spending quality time together and he will perhaps become a precocious, cultured child in the process…reasons why you are ready to give the rigorous private school admissions process a try and why you live in Manhattan in the first place.
If your child has difficulty in any of these areas, or you would like to supplement your kindergarten prep with weekly sessions, please contact me:
Sessions are provided in the comfort of your Upper East Side home. Please explore my speech language blog for more parent friendly ideas.
Your child is off to a NYC kindergarten next fall – Congratulations!
Here are some ways to feel less overwhelmed:
1. For kindergarten admission tests, try playing these fun thinking games with your child: