EL MONTE – At El Monte City School District’s new Kindergarten Parent Academy, parents are learning fun and engaging ways to teach children about the alphabet with word-matching games, the importance of jumping and skipping to stay physically active and how to read print books in a technology-filled world.
The Kindergarten Parent Academy, which started in November, focuses on teaching parents how to guide their children in mastering motor skills, English language arts, math and social and emotional development in a series of four workshops throughout the school year. Each District school hosts its own workshops for parents with children in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten.
Rio Hondo Elementary School teacher Indra Arellano, who led a recent workshop, said parents are thankful to have help in keeping their children on the right academic path.
“Parents appreciated the fact that teachers made themselves available, that they answered questions and that we have more presentations planned,” Arellano said. “From what we’ve heard, many are excited to come to the next workshop.”
Workshops are held in English and Spanish and the District can provide translated materials for Vietnamese, Cantonese and Mandarin speakers. Some schools also provide childcare during the workshops.
Vania Lee, mother of a Rio Hondo Elementary School kindergartener, said the workshop provided her with tips and materials to improve her daughter’s English fluency.
“The first Kindergarten Parent Academy workshop was great – it really helped with the academic expectations for what students should know going into class,” Lee said. “It’s a big help in teaching my daughter the alphabet, upper- and lower-case letters and letter sounds, too.”
Lee said she will attend all sessions to help her daughter improve math and social skills and will recommend the workshops to other parents.
The program was created by Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia. Workshop topics were determined by analyzing the District’s standardized test scores to see which subjects needed additional focus, Arellano said.
The workshops also provide an important financial benefit because the District offers free books and other supplies to parents, Arellano said.
The program offers six free books to workshop guests, including “A New Friend for Sparkle,” “Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun” and “Should I Share My Ice Cream?”
The program’s next workshop, which focuses on reading, will be offered in late January and early February.
If attendance at upcoming workshops is high, the District will consider expanding the academy to address new topics in the 2019-20 school year.
“We are very proud to see our community embrace the guidance that our Kindergarten Parent Academy provides,” Garcia said. “The best support our transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students can get is encouragement from their parents. We believe this program will provide our students with a strong foundation for learning.”
EMCSD_KINDER1: Rio Hondo School parents look over free books offered by the El Monte City School District’s Kindergarten Parent Academy, including “Should I Share My Ice Cream?” and “I am Brave,” designed to improve literacy in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students.
EMCSD_ KINDER2: Lexington School parents craft word game puzzles to help their children learn the alphabet during an El Monte City School District Kindergarten Parent Academy workshop. The workshops teach parents how to guide their children in mastering motor skills, English language arts, math and social and emotional development.