FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
REGARDING KINDERGARTEN TRANSITION TO FIRST GRADE
The K-1 teacher team compiled the questions for this document from parent surveys and various conversations with parents. We hope it provides information that is helpful for outgoing kindergarten parents, as their child takes this next step in their schooling.
Question: Do the kindergartners have a chance to visit a first grade classroom?
Answer: Each kindergarten class has an opportunity to visit a first grade classroom before the end of the year. This is similar to the group visits made by the pre-school children to the kindergartens in the spring. In addition, this year we will take all the kindergartners on a “walk-through” of ALL the first grade rooms.
Question: How will my child be placed in a first grade class?
Answer: Mr. Ande and our counselors use the following process to place students in first grade classes. First, they look at parent and teacher information. Then, they try to create classrooms that are “balanced” for gender, leadership, academic strengths, group skills, and special needs. Since kindergarten teachers know their students far better than the principal and counselor at this point, they also collaborate to help with balancing classes for first grade. In a small number of cases certain children are purposely placed in a specific classroom - placed with or separated from other students. All these decisions are designed to create the optimum chance for success for each and every student in first grade.
Question: When will I know what class and teacher my child will have?
Answer: You will be notified electronically via Family Access the week before school starts.
Question: Can I request a certain teacher or teaching style?
Answer: Please refer to the all-school Parent Bulletin that comes out in late April regarding class placement information. A specific teacher may not be requested, however, you may share information about your child’s learning needs using the format included in the bulletin.
Question: How many recesses are there in first grade?
Answer: Two – 15 min. in AM, 30 min. at Lunch
Question: What is the first grade lunch routine?
Answer: It is helpful if students arrive each day knowing whether they want the 1st or 2nd lunch choice listed on the menu. They may also choose to purchase milk only and bring their lunch from home. If they like, they may bring their entire lunch/drink from home. No child will go hungry. If they forget their lunch or money, they will be given a sandwich and milk. When purchasing lunch, each student will be given a 4-digit code and will be expected to memorize it. Lunch is approximately 25 min. long followed by a 30 min. recess.
We recommend that parents purchase multiple lunch credits by sending in a check or cash with their student. The lunch money remains in the student’s account until spent. Checks are made out to Blakely School and given to Mrs. Thomas in the office.
Question: Is there still a snack time in first grade?
Answer: Yes. Each teacher has her own routine and will inform you.
Question: What can we do at home to help our child adjust to a full-day schedule in first grade?
Answer: Helpful Hints:
· Other parents have found it beneficial to limit extra-curricular activities for the first few months until their first grade child is used to the school routine.
· Establish a regular school-year bedtime at least a week before school starts. (Most first graders need 9-10 hours of sleep.)
· Consider providing a home lunch for the first few days of school to make the transition from home to school a bit easier.
· Handle your first grader with TLC and understand/expect that the following behaviors may show up but are usually temporary:
*Crankiness/moodiness for awhile
*Tiredness/falling asleep early
Question: What does the daily schedule in first grade look like?
Answer: While individual classroom schedules may differ, ALL first grade classrooms follow the same curriculum including: Language Arts, Math, Science/Technology, Social Studies, and Specialists. Specific schedules will be shared at September First Grade Parent Night.
Question: How long are first graders with the Specialists each day?
Answer: In first grade each specialist time is 40 minutes. They include Art, Music, Library, and P.E.
Question: In addition to the classroom teacher, are there other resources available to assist our child’s learning?
Answer: Yes, there are several resources available including:
· Counselor-Refer to Blakely website for more information https://www.bisd303.org/beshttps://www.bisd303.org//site/Default.aspx?PageID=19
· Title 1 Reading Specialist – Here is an explanation from our Title 1 teacher about the program: “Title I/LAP is a federally funded supplemental program that supports students in grades 1-4. All first grade students are screened in September for beginning reading skills. A few may be re-screened in October to identify those who have weak phonemic awareness, (which is the ability to hear, blend, and manipulate sounds of our language orally before or in tandem with print), are still unsure of letter names and sounds, or have difficulty blending sounds in small words. Frequently these students benefit from additional small group instruction in reading. Once a student qualifies for Title I classes, parents are notified. Since classes are small, parents are welcome to come in during their child's class to share in the joy of learning to read.”
· Speech and Language Specialist
· Occupational/Physical Therapist
· Resource Room Teacher
Refer to Blakely website for more information and look up Special Services. https://www.bisd303.org/bes
Question: Where on the reading/writing continuum should an average “September” or “new” first grader should be?
Answer: By the end of the year most kindergarten students recognize upper and lower case letter names and most sounds. Some are beginning to use these sounds in their own emergent journal writing or easy readers. There is always a range of ability and developmental maturity. Each child has his/her own unique developmental timetable. Some children begin first grade working on letters and their sounds and others are formally reading. First grade teachers recognize these differences and work with each student at their appropriate level.
Question: Will my child be behind if she/he isn’t “formally” reading by the “beginning” of first grade?
Answer: The first grade teachers recognize and work with the children at their individual level and move them ahead.
Question: My child is already reading simple chapter books. Will he/she be taught and challenged at his/her own reading level?
Answer: Yes. Each child has the opportunity to participate in reading activities geared to his/her own instructional level.
Question: Is there any standardized testing in first grade?
Answer: Not at this time.
Question: What is the math program and how are varying abilities in math addressed in first grade?
Answer: Our math program is designed to be a combination of whole group lessons, small group and individual activities. Small group activity time allows the teacher to facilitate learning for individual children at their own developmental level. Math is taught for understanding in all strands (e.g. geometry, problem solving, patterns and relationships, etc.), as well as basic computation.
Question: Is there homework in first grade?
Answer: The Blakely School Homework Policy is 10 minutes per school night in first grade. This may include reading to or with your child, specific math homework, or special family projects.
Question: Are there opportunities to help in the first grade classroom as I did in Kindergarten?
Answer: Yes. Each teacher utilizes parent volunteers in their classrooms. Each teacher will explain how this is done in September at First Grade Parent Night.
Question: Are there things we could do at home this summer to help the transition and prepare our child for first grade?
Answer: Review and practice letter names and sounds, rote counting to 100, counting by 10s, 5s and 2s, number identification, patterns, sorting, and exploring simple addition and subtraction combinations all in a fun, playful, game-like way. Encourage your child to keep a summer journal by illustrating and “writing” their good ideas.