Tonawanda News


June 20, 2013

In praise of pre-Kindergarten

Tonawanda News — Every once in a while, you hear someone grumbling (or read a Sound-Off), asking why school districts need to provide pre-kindergarten programs for their students. 

Can’t parents pay for outside child-care themselves if they want to get rid of their kids during the day? (Grumble.) And back in their day, kindergarten was plenty. (Grumble.) In fact, half-day kindergaren was just fine. (Grumble, grumble.) In fact, even that was optional. (Epic grumbling.)

Now, I remember kindergarten (dimly) as a time of basic letters and numbers, naptimes and snacks and struggling to master the tying of the shoelaces. Nothing that needs a lot of background, right? By first grade, we were learning to read (oh happy day!), but kindergarten was mainly socialization and the very basics. Nothing for which the average 5-year-old needed much preparation.

But, folks, things have changed since 1979.

Kid No. 2, a recent Ken-Ton pre-K graduate, proudly brought home his “report card” at the end of the school year this week, an assessment of his progress both at the middle of the year and now at the end. He was scored on an array of the skills he needs to know to be ready for kindergarten and beyond. 

In addition to characteristics of a successful learner (such as “focuses during teacher-directed activities” and “uses technology appropriate to grade level”), motor skills (such as “holds writing tools properly”) and life and self-help skills (such as “puts on own outdoor clothing independently”) are goals in literacy development, math and science and social studies. Such as:

• Describes the role of an author and illustrator.

• Demonstrates understanding of the organization and basic features of print.

• Uses a combination of drawing, dictating or writing to express an opinion or compose informative/explanatory text, with prompting and support.

Text Only
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo