The families of future Franklin County Schools kindergarten students can help their children achieve Kindergarten Readiness at home through the help of new videos about preparing for school.
Over the summer, FCS has been releasing the weekly videos for parents and family members. The videos can be found on the FCS website or Facebook page. Topics in the videos include academic and social skills, like fine motor skills and understanding concepts about printed materials.
Sharla Six, the assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the school district, said FCS started the videos as a way to let parents and guardians know ways they can give their children the opportunity to learn.
Six said that she got the idea to do the videos after seeing another school district, Knott County Schools, post one- to two- minute videos about things families can do at home with their children. She picked concepts for teachers and other employees to volunteer to film in a video.
In Kentucky, public schools use the BRIGANCE screening test to determine if kids are ready to enter kindergarten. The test assesses five different areas, according to the Kentucky Department of Education’s website: academic and cognitive skills, language, development, physical development, and self-help and social-emotional development.
Last year, 48.1% of 493 children screened by FCS were Kindergarten Ready and 51.9% were ready with interventions. Since 2013, the percentage of FCS children considered Kindergarten Ready has been below the state average of Kindergarten Ready children.
Kindergarten screening data
% of FCS students Ready
% of Kentucky students Ready
“Lots of times, it’s just those daily, positive interactions, opportunities for play,” Six said. “Play is the most important. That’s how kids learn at that age.”
All this isn’t to say that parents need to think about making sure that their child aces the screening test for kindergarten, but rather focus on having positive interactions with their children and encouraging them to think about the world around them, Six said. The videos can be helpful to first-time parents in particular, Six said.
In addition to this, FCS holds Born Learning Academies for families with children who have not gone to school yet and gives packets of resources, including a screener for babies, to Frankfort Regional Medical Center to give to parents after birth.
FCS also works with local day-care centers to give training and resources, like curriculum documents, about being prepared for school, Six said. Being prepared for kindergarten sets up the rest of a student’s academic career and being ready does not automatically happen at age 5, Six said.
The videos produced by the district are not strictly focused on what is on the BRIGANCE, but the videos cover skills needed, such as how to use a calendar or understanding that reading is left to right.
Hosts in the videos include various school district employees, such as kindergarten teachers and school principals. The students featured are children of those employees and other FCS students.
Six said that the kids enjoy their time in front of the camera. The variety of faces also introduces parents to faces that they may not normally interact with and highlights that Kindergarten Readiness affects everything, she said.
“We need to work together,” Six said.
One of the students featured, Caydence, wrote a thank-you note to Six and Communications and Information Coordinator Kristen Waits, who edits and publishes the videos. Caydence recently filmed a video with her mother, Cassandra Adams, the assistant principal at Elkhorn Middle School, about ways to learn and practice counting. Adams said that she volunteered to film the video and both she and Caydence came up with the activities featured, like writing numbers on the ground to use for hopscotch, finding household items that have numbers on them or following a recipe.
Being ready for kindergarten affects her middle school students, Adams said. She said that she has read studies that show that the foundation children get between birth and age 5 sets them up for the future. She said that she is glad that the district created the videos, as guardians can work on some skills at home with children, who will then go to school and see those skills reflected in their peers.
“You want them to feel confident when they enter the classroom,” Adams said.