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.

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  • WALLACE: Be part of the solution I recently attended the Town of Tonawanda's Comprehensive Plan update meeting on Tuesday at the Brounshidle VFW Post in Kenmore. I went as a newspaper reporter but also as a resident of the Village of Kenmore and Town of Tonawanda.

    April 24, 2014


    April 23, 2014

  • GUEST VIEW: What young people aren't learning in college The results are distressing to say the least. A recent survey found that only 17 percent of college graduates â€" graduates! â€" knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation, just 42 percent knew the Battle of the Bulge was fought during World War II, and not even two in five could identify term limits for their senators and representatives.

    April 23, 2014

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: In defense of the Common Core

    They've become the two dirtiest words in education, but the Common Core is very much worth defending.

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    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

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    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo