Bright Beginnings’ primary mission is to provide a supportive and safe learning environment, ensuring that DC children facing homelessness enter kindergarten on par with their peers. But what does “Kindergarten ready” look like? This month we sat down with BBI’s pre-k teaching team for an in-depth look at the journey to Kindergarten and what the future holds for the Bright Beginnings graduating class of 2015.
Conversation with BBI Head Start Teachers Tara Perry and Shavonnia Miller:
What does the last month of pre-k look like at Bright Beginnings? What type of kindergarten prep is happening in the classroom?
Kindergarten prep consists of many different elements. Our goal is to provide the children with examples of what to expect in a kindergarten classroom. We do this by working on independence and critical thinking. It’s important that our pre-K students put into practice what they have learned all year. We work with students on communicating feelings, and leading activities independently, like circle time. Additional skills involve perfecting penmanship; writing their full name, specific words, and sentences for short stories. Students are also learning introductory math; writing numbers and counting.
Bright Beginnings sponsors pre-k field trips to various kindergarten programs in the District. What do these trips entail?
Teachers and parents accompany the children to a kindergarten for a few hours. Each BBI child is partnered with current kindergartener in a specific class. The BBI students are incorporated into classroom activities which allow the children to see first-hand exactly what a typical day is like.
BBI works with parents to place each pre-k child at the school of their choice. Where will the children attend school next year?
The children will be attending a variety of different schools next year. We strive to assign children to the kindergarten that will work best for them and their families. Prospective schools include:
How does Bright Beginnings, Inc. prepare parents for Kindergarten?
Family and Community Engagement Manger, Ms. Tamara Perez speaks with parents about the kindergarten transition. BBI Family Advocates also attend parent meetings to address kindergarten concerns and answer any questions parents may have.
The transition to Kindergarten is just as much a transition for the parents as it is for the children. Pre-k teachers emphasize the importance of homework, by asking parents to start using the BBI Literacy Kits. BBI Literacy Take-Home Kits is a project in which a book is sent home for the parent and child to read together in their home environment. Lastly, Bright Beginnings staff works with parents on establishing an intention for homework and attending school every day. Homework and attendance are extremely important.
What will you miss most about the 2015 graduating pre-k class?
We will miss their sense of humor and willingness to learn. This is a very enthusiastic group of great thinkers who possess great ideas.
A special thank you to Bright Beginnings pre-K educators for their thoughts, we wish the BBI graduating class of 2015 the best of luck!