Do you hold a kindergarten screening or "roundup" at your school? Our kindergarten screening is an exciting time of year when parents come to register their child(ren) for kindergarten in the Fall. In my school district, we have the students come to the schools twice, once for screening (more of the academic testing to find out where students are), and once for visitation (more of the get to know you, welcome to kindergarten things). This year, we're changing it up a bit to hopefully find out more useful information that will be helpful to us as we prepare for next year.
In the past, our screening has consisted of capital and lowercase letter identification, the Bracken, screening by the school's speech pathologist, and some informal looking through and maybe reading books. We found that the most helpful part of this screening was the letter identification, as it really helped to separate students who are coming in with no background knowledge from students who have a strong literacy foundation already. (This does not mean that the students who score low on the letter ID are doomed, it's just helpful for us to get a sense of where our crowd is at). Click the image below to get your FREE letter identification resource!
Over the years, we really didn't find the Bracken to provide us with earth shattering information, but we have been seeing more and more students start kindergarten with lacking fine motor skills and social skills. Because of this, we decided that we really wanted to focus on those two areas this year.
To change things up this year, we are first going to have students come for kindergarten screening. Parents will complete the registration paperwork as we work with one student (4 per time block). We are going to be assessing a few different things: Letter ID, name ID, letters in the name ID, name writing, and fine motor skills via drawing a self portrait and cutting it out. We want to get an overall picture of each child before they come into kindergarten so that hopefully we can provide them with some fun activities to strengthen any of these areas over the summer. This by no means means that students need to start kindergarten being rockstars in all of these areas, after all, that's what we're here for! We would just like a little clearer snapshot of students than before. Here are two of the handouts that we will be giving to parents at screening. Click on the image to get them for FREE!
Now here's the part that I'm super excited about. Instead of our traditional visitation (mock morning meeting, split into groups to draw a self portrait and write their name, practice bus ride), we are going to hold open play sessions. Parents will sign students up for a time, and they will just play with a few other students who are signed up as well. We will be there to watch, take notes, and play as well, but our main focus here is to see the kids interact with each other. Do they share? Do they throw a fit when it's time to clean up? How do they transition from play to a story? I am hopeful that this will provide some insight into the social and emotional piece that we don't often see come out until a few weeks into school, and then it explodes. If we can get any information from this informal play session, it will allow us to more evenly place students, and get more information from parents and preschool teachers before the school year starts.
So here's my question for you. Do you do a kindergarten screening? What are your favorite parts? What do you want to change? Do you have a favorite blog post or resource that you go to for tips? Please feel free to leave comments and links below!