Gearing Up for Kindergarten
This parent and family involvement program supports child development, school readiness, and healthy parenting. Parents will learn techniques to help their child develop academic, social, emotional, motor and language skills.
Entering kindergarten is a major transition in the life of a child and his or her parents. Kids need to be ready for school, and schools need to be ready for kids. That’s why Gearing Up for Kindergarten offers educational classes that prepare parents and their children for success in school.
The Gearing Up for Kindergarten curriculum is available to schools, parent education programs, and other organizations.
Participants in the Gearing Up for Kindergarten educational program provide comments and feedback on the program through participant surveys and other means. A brief sampling of comments is included here.
More Time and Active Involvement with Children
- It’s a good learning program. Useful information and doing the learning activities with my child is fun!! I like learning with my child and what I learn from this helps me to understand how to help her learn better.
- This program has been an incredible blessing to me and my son. I absolutely love the chance to play educational games with just him and I really need the parenting advice and encouragement that is given. I was also very thankful for the child care for my other kids. Thank you!!
Improved Parenting Efforts in Specific Areas
- I found the discipline techniques very useful – using positive reinforcement and avoiding the word “don’t.”
- I am more interactive when I read to him. Many of my parenting beliefs and behaviors have been affirmed, which has helped me to be more confident.
- I try to focus more on catching him being good. I try to use everyday experiences more to teach math and literacy.
Increased Awareness of Child’s Specific Needs
- This is an awesome program – I think it is something that every family with a child entering kindergarten could benefit from participating in. It allowed me to see which skills my son has mastered versus needs work on for school readiness.
- This class was offered at a difficult time our family was facing, just recently learning we had a special needs child. This class was very beneficial for our child, providing some stability for all of us and assuring us with what we will need to face with the youngest child in our family.
- This program was absolutely what our family needed! It was great to take the time to focus on my son’s development. I truly needed encouragement as a parent and this helped us focus on helping our son. He can’t wait for kindergarten now.
Increased Child Social Confidence and Positive Peer Interactions
- My child is very shy. Through this program she was able to spend time with the kindergarten teachers. She thoroughly enjoyed the program.
- Good social experience – improvement in social skills since beginning of program. Good introduction to classroom setting – we’re working on transitions.
Improved Child Pre-Academic Skills in Reading, Math and Other Subjects
- This was her night. No siblings. She was exposed to a classroom, a teacher, and other children. She learned socialization and improved some of her academic skills. She loves to write 5’s now and doesn’t get frustrated.
- He wants to learn to read now. His self-confidence is so much better because he had his own important meeting to go to and I had one-on-one time with him.
Greater Awareness and Comfort with School Routines and Expectations
- He is becoming familiar with the classroom atmosphere. It is a great learning experience for him – both mentally and socially.
- He is getting more prepared to start kindergarten and will know what to expect when he does start school and he won’t be so shy. He knows what school time is about and how to follow directions.
- His social skills have improved. His fine motor skills have improved. I feel that he is more prepared to start school and he will know what to expect next year.
Research on the Gearing Up for Kindergarten program suggests:
- Parent-school relationship is enhanced through participation in the program.
- Children and parents who are prepared and know what to expect in school tend to experience less anxiety and greater enjoyment when entering school.
- Skills/Development (compared to children who did not participate in Program)
- Social skill development - 3 x higher
- Emotional skill development - 2 x higher
- Familiarity with numbers - 4 x higher
- Familiarity with the alphabet - 2 1/2 x higher
Selected research highlights:
- Program participation – 90% of participants indicated involvement in 75% or more of the program sessions of the program during the year, while another 6.5% of participants indicated involvement in 51% to 75% of the program sessions. This is a very high rate of participation and retention in a parent education program involving parents and children.
- General value of the program - Participants expressed very positive feelings about the general value of the program, with 78% indicating it was very or extremely useful to them. Among participants in the 2016-17 program, 76% said the handouts and learning activities were very useful to them. Finally, all of them agreed that the information was presented well and they were treated respectfully, with those who strongly agreed they were treated well at 87.5% among all participants.
- General impacts of program participation - Among participants, 55% indicated the program increased their knowledge of child development a lot or very much, 53% noted it increased their knowledge of healthy parenting a lot or very much, 58% felt it increased their confidence in being a good parent a lot or very much, and 51% said it increased their parenting skills a lot or very much. Additionally, 80% felt it changed their parenting behavior at least somewhat, and 85% indicated that it influenced their relationship with their child positively.
- Program value versus other information sources - The results from the 2016-17 session of the program indicate that participants rated the school (3.78), preschool/Head Start/child care (3.78), and parents with children of a similar age (3.64) as among the most useful sources of information for them on parenting and preparing their child for school. However, the Gearing Up for Kindergarten class and materials were rated higher than all other sources with a mean score of 4.07, indicating that participants felt the class was more useful to them regarding parenting and school readiness than any other information source assessed. Participants rated the Gearing Up for Kindergarten program substantially higher than any other information source assessed.
- Increases in children’s school readiness as described by parents - Among 19 indicators of school readiness assessed by parents regarding their children, significant differences were measured on all of the 19 indicators between fall 2016 and spring 2017. This pattern was the same in each program model. This means that all of the indicators for school readiness showed positive growth in children participating in Gearing Up for Kindergarten. In analyzing all increases, the findings suggest growth in five primary areas: (1) social skills and positive interaction with others; (2) ability to function more independently and learn actively in a guided environment; (3) development of specific pre-academic skills or knowledge that applies to a school setting (knowing the alphabet and numbers, etc.); (4) ability to express themselves through art and hands-on creative activities; and (5) ability to manage emotions and adapt in a new environment.
- Parent knowledge of school readiness - For parents in the program, 10 indicators of knowledge related to school readiness showed significant increases in their knowledge levels and ability to prepare their child for the school experience. For example, the parents showed increases of knowledge regarding social and emotional development in children, development of early reading and math skills, areas of competence for school readiness, and key elements of a supportive home learning environment.
- Parent confidence in child’s preparedness for school - For parents in the program, among 3 indicators of their confidence with a child’s preparedness for school, significant differences were measured on all 3 indicators between the beginning and end of the program. Findings showed that after going through the program, parents felt more confident in the child’s level of preparedness for kindergarten, and also increased their confidence in the activities being done to prepare their child for school transition.
- Increases in children’s academic readiness as determined by objective assessment - Children overall and in each model of the program made significant progress increasing their number counting ability, number identification ability, letter identification ability, and sound identification ability. These steps forward in early academic skills indicate children are making progress with regard to early literacy and early numeracy.
- Parent-child reading interactions – Parents indicated significant changes on a variety of parent-child reading interactions during the program. Areas of reading interaction that showed significant improvement were parents became more likely to go to the library with their child, they were more likely to discuss contents of a book with their children, they read more often with children, and they were more attentive to finding age- appropriate books for their children. All of these items are important because they are actions that serve to facilitate a positive literacy environment for children in the home.
Gearing Up for Kindergarten is a prevention-focused parent and family education program designed to facilitate child development, school readiness and healthy parenting. A complete copy of the educational curriculum includes the following:
- Curriculum Overview with program information, curriculum organization, lesson handouts, parent-child take-home activities, parent tip cards, and information on supplies, staffing, promotion, logistics, and evaluation for the program.
Parent Education through 16 lesson modules that include objectives, topic overview, lesson outline and activities, participant handouts and take-home activities for parents and children.
Preschool Education with session planning sheets, circle time activities, and activity outlines for math, science, reading, sensory, and motor learning activities.
Gearing Up for Kindergarten: Parent Education Curriculum PLUS Parent and Child Activity Time Handbook - $320
This version of the program can be used in parent education with families of children 4 to 6 years of age. Key program building blocks are: Building school readiness skills for children, Parent education, and Parent involvement with children's learning and school.
Sessions include: what to expect (kindergarten skills), parenting styles, brain development, raising a reader, defining discipline: nurturance and prevention, defining discipline: guidance and consequences, responsible and independent, the importance of good-quality sleep, learning styles, temperament, early math, social and emotional development, screen time vs. real life, feeding healthy habits, safety always, parents’ role in school success. This program is most effective when used the year prior to kindergarten entry.
The parent and child activity time handbook is used by the Early Childhood Teacher. It contains lesson plans for circle time and five learning center lessons per week for parent/child classroom time. The curriculum also includes table tents for center time activities, session support materials, PowerPoints, parent handouts, family activities, and parent tip cards.
or download the print order form
Gearing Up for Kindergarten Parent Education Curriculum - starts at $220
This version of the program can be used in parent education with families of children ages 3 to 6 years of age. Key program building blocks are: Building school readiness skills for children, Parent education, and Parent involvement with children's learning and school.
Sessions include: what to expect (kindergarten skills), parenting styles, brain development, raising a reader, defining discipline: nurturance and prevention, defining discipline: guidance and consequences, responsible and independent, the importance of good-quality sleep, motor development, temperament, early math, social and emotional development, screen time vs. real life, feeding healthy habits, safety always, parents’ role in school success. Especially applicable for parents and families attending Head Start, preschool and/or Child Care. Curriculum includes: program support materials, PowerPoints, parent handouts, family activities and parent tip cards.
or download the print order form
For general questions and information about the North Dakota program, or questions regarding research data and reports, contact:
Sean Brotherson, Ph.D.
To order curriculum online:
- Gearing Up for Kindergarten: Parent Education Curriculum PLUS Parent and Child Activity Time Handbook
- Gearing Up for Kindergarten Parent Education Curriculum
For questions about ordering curriculum or to submit your order form:
NDSU Extension HDFS
c/o Krista Olson
EML 322, NDSU Dept 7260
PO Box 6050, Fargo ND 58108-6050
Phone: (701) 231-8652