Family Connections Build Strong Foundations!

As kindergarten teachers, you are the first contact that many families have with their child’s educational career—they are so lucky to have you! Taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with families helps them to stay positively engaged in their child’s education, which has long- term positive impacts for children.

As you reflect on children’s progress over the kindergarten year, families are eager to hear about what their children have learned in kindergarten, and what they can continue to work with them on over the summer. Your final conversations with families this year may be the most important in setting students up for success in first grade.

These meaningful conversations with families about their child’s progress over the kindergarten year can really help to motivate families to engage with their child in learning activities over the summer and help reduce the “summer slide.”

In this blog, we provide some recommendations for sharing information with families about their children’s development over the year.  Using the information that you gathered from the VKRP assessments in the fall in combination with PALS data and your on-going observations of your students throughout the school year is a great way to share with families where their child started, how they have grown and where they might still need more support.

Using PALS Data: End-of-the-Year Tips:  Part II: Sharing with Families

Put PALS scores to work for you when talking with families!

Source: iStock/Steve Debenport

Sometimes, when talking with families, we just focus on whether students met the Summed Score Benchmark. But PALS tells much more than that! We know that giving families specific information helps them to understand their child’s literacy growth and strengths, and helps to identify how they can assist their child.

Click HERE to learn how you can use students’ PALS reports to create a personalized overview for families including current skills, areas to work on, and ideas of activities they can do together at home to continue learning in the areas of literacy. 

End of Year Math Wrap-up and Summer Fun for Families

You have laid the foundation for students’ mathematics skill development. You have likely witnessed students’ moving from just learning to count at the beginning of the year to now being able to “count on” from numbers besides 1 and “skip count.” At the beginning of the year, students may have struggled with simple addition and subtraction problems, and now there are students who can use multiple different strategies to solve complex computation problems.

As you reflect on your students’ math skills at the beginning of the school year when they completed “The Party Assessment”—Where have they grown? Where do they need more support? and Are they meeting first grade beginning of the year benchmarks? This is important information to share with families so they can help their child continue to grow in their math skills over the summer.

Source: iStock/Nadezhda1906

The VKRP team has created a family-friendly handout that highlights what math skills students have been working to master in kindergarten and what they will be working on in first grade. We have also included fun math activities that will support children’s continued skill development! Click HERE to download and share with families.

Summertime Self-Regulation and Social Skills Activities

From taking turns and resolving conflicts to following directions and persisting on difficult tasks, your students have developed skills this year that will serve them well for years to come! These final weeks are an ideal time to review their scores from the fall self-regulation and social skills assessment and reflect upon whether children who had room to grow have made the gains needed for success heading into the next school year, and whether children who entered with stronger skills have remained on target.

Whether your students’ needs for this summer are to gain or maintain,

Source: iStock/wavebreakmedia

there are enormous benefits to engaging families in continuing to foster their self-regulation and social skills! The VKRP team has created a handout for you to share with families that details the social and self-regulatory skills their child has worked on this year, and how they’ll be building upon them in first grade. We’ve also included directions for some summer games and reading activities to help spark conversations and learning about emotions, friendships, and body awareness! Click HERE to download, print, and share!

A HUGE THANK YOU!

Being a teacher is no easy task and the entire VKRP Team & our PALS colleagues want to take the opportunity to THANK YOU for your hard work and dedication to Virginia’s youngest citizens!

We wish you a happy, healthy, and FUN summer!


More questions? VKRP provides support via the online chat feature when you are in the system, via email vkrp@virginia.edu, and via toll free 866-301-8278 ext. 1.