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Preschoolers invited to take 'Little Steps' to success

Oregon Trail program helps parents, future students prepare

For the ninth year, staff at Oregon Trail elementary schools are getting ready to open their doors to even smaller feet. Beginning in October, Oregon Trail School District will once again offer its Little Steps to School Success program, which helps introduce preschoolers to education and helps parents prepare their children for kindergarten.

“The program gives parents ideas of how to incorporate effective literacy and math strategies at home with children,” said Debbie Johnson, the district’s director of Teaching and Learning.

In the program, children aged 3-4 will get the chance to visit the elementary school in their neighborhood four times throughout this school year and become acquainted with their future school, classroom and teachers.

Once signed up, future students will receive a special letter inviting them to the event, where there will be read-aloud time.

Each child will receive a free copy of the book featured during read-aloud time and a packet of activities to complete with help from parents, introducing the skills necessary for kindergarten.

“We share resources with parents regarding what students need to know and be able to do when they enter kindergarten,” Johnson said, adding that the public schools’ kindergarten programs’ goal, as with any other program, is to take the children’s skills, wherever they are, and help them grow to meet grade level standards. “These skills are reinforced in the activities that are used during the session as well as those shared with parents to use at home.”

The free program is offered for parents and their preschoolers as a way to begin becoming invested in the school community.

“Since the program is held at the school the child will attend, it also gives attendees (parents as well as children) a chance to get familiar with the school setting and meet kindergarten staff,” Johnson added. “This helps support the transition of our youngest students to the school environment when they’re ready to enter kindergarten.”

Little Steps sessions will be held at each elementary school from 6:30-7:30 p.m. four times throughout the 2015-2016 school year. The scheduled dates are as follows:

n Oct. 13, Dec. 8, Feb. 16 and April 5 at Naas Elementary

n Oct. 15, Dec. 10, Feb. 18 and April 7 at Firwood Elementary

n Oct. 20, Dec. 15, Feb. 23 and April 12 at Sandy Grade

n Oct. 22, Dec. 17, Feb. 25 and April 14 at Welches Elementary

Enrollment is limited and based on space availability. Free child care is provided.

To learn more about the program and register your child, visit oregontrailschools.com/parents/kindergarten-readiness/little-steps-to-school-success/.

Are you ready for kindergarten?

The Oregon Department of Education suggests that children have the following skills before entering kindergarten:

  • Know their first and last name.
  • Be able to write their name using a capital letter for the first letter.
  • Know all the letter names.
  • Know 10 or more letter sounds.
  • Can identify the first sound in a word.
  • Be able to identify the numbers 1-10.
  • Be able to count to 20 out loud.
  • Can readily follow one- or two-step instructions, such as “Please pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
  • Listens attentively for 10 minutes.
  • Take turns and share toys.
  • Verbally share their feelings, such as using the words “I feel.”
  • Go to the bathroom by themselves.
  • Able to snap, button and zip clothing.

  • kwray@sandypost.com