Countdown to Kindergarten

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Just a few minutes inside a kindergarten classroom at Chico Elementary and you can see a true love of learning.

"We write sentences, we read books, we do artwork," said kindergarten student Layla Davis.

Layla and her classmates work on computers, recognize site words and take part in science projects like watching caterpillars build cocoons and turn into butterflies.

The kids know metamorphosis doesn't happen overnight. Their teacher, Mallory Martinez, said the process is much like turning 5-and 6-year-olds into successful students.

According to Martinez, "Some of them come in really low and you just have to start, 'This is a letter, this is a number,' and some kids come in ready to read."

She's been teaching kindergarten for five years and points to four things parents can do to ensure their child is kindergarten-ready:

  • read to your children
  • use everyday items to teach simple color-, number- and letter recognition
  • get involved in their daily playtime
  • address any fears they may have about going to school for the first time

Martinez said you can address those fears by having them talk to older kids who've been through kindergarten. Sometimes that advice can be the most comforting.

"Kindergarten is not what it used to be when we were kids," she said. "You know, we do push them harder academically, but it's still kindergarten. It's still a loving environment in here and I love what I do."

The Little Rock School District and most others throughout the state provide online resources for parents working to prepare their children for kindergarten. For more information on kindergarten readiness, check your child's district website.