Guide for Families

This guide is meant to help you better understand how to use the Skills Toolkit section of the website. For each of the 14 skills, you will see five sections of information. The five sections of information are described below.

What does the skill mean?

This section will provide you with a sense of what each learning skill on the kindergarten report card means. It is important to make sure that all families and teachers have the same understanding of what each of the 14 skills means. This will make communication between families and teachers easier.

What does the skill look like in the classroom and at home?

This section provides a short example of each learning skill on the kindergarten report card both in the classroom and at home. These examples can help make the meaning of each skill more clear and will give you a sense of how the skill might look different in the classroom and at home.

How can I explain this skill to children?

Before teaching your child a skill, it is important to explain the skill in a way that they will understand. This section provides one example of how you can explain this skill and its importance to your child in a way that makes sense to them.

What are some things I can do to help my child learn this skill?

This section was developed by looking at best practices to support these skills and by talking to families and teachers of kindergarten children in Philadelphia. Here you will find a list of quick and easy strategies that you can use at home to support these skills. Please consider any special language or learning needs your child has when reviewing this information.

You can also think about some of the things you already do at home to support these skills and talk to other families and your child’s teacher about their best ideas.

How can I encourage my child when I see them trying to learn this skill?

Remember to acknowledge your child’s efforts! When you see your child working hard to learn these skills, let them know that you see their efforts and are proud of them. This section will provide some examples of things you can say to encourage your child.

Certain types of praise are more effective than others. Praising your child with specific words rather than general statements of approval can help them better understand what behaviors you are recognizing. In addition, focusing on your child’s efforts rather than on a product or outcome will make them feel confident in tackling challenges and will reinforce the importance of trying their best regardless of whether they fail or succeed.

General vs. Specific

Instead of this…

“Great job!”

Say this…

“You are doing a great job putting the toys you played with away”

Instead of this…

“You did it!”

Say this…

“I like how you are sitting quietly with your hands on your lap”

Outcome vs. Effort

Instead of this…

“You wrote your numbers perfectly!”

Say this…

“I like how hard you worked to finish your numbers!”

Instead of this…

“You’re such a good reader”

Say this…

“I’m proud of you for trying your best to read that book”

Developed by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, the School District of Philadelphia, families, and teachers. Funded by the William Penn Foundation.

 

EXCEL

These 14 skills help children Conquer Kindergarten and EXCEL in school and life. These skills assist kindergarteners who are working hard to learn their ABCs and 123s, and they support future academic achievement, healthy relationships, and career success.

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