Skills and Concepts: Early Learning



  • Develop handwriting skills: letter formation
  • Learns all of the letters of the alphabet (upper case and lower case) and their sounds.
  • Begins to “read” books himself, mainly from memorization.
  • Recognizes several basic sight words such as I, my, you, is and are.
  • Reads and listens to stories and then talks about stories, their plots, characters and events.
  • Follows words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.
  • Recognizes and can produce rhyming words.
  • Adds or substitutes individual sounds in simple, one-syllable words to make new words. For example, replaces the “C” in “Cat” with an “R” to create the word “Rat.”
  • Writes uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Writes his/her name.
  • Writes some letters and words when they are dictated.
  • Uses invented or creative spelling to write a variety of words.
  • Uses conventional spelling to write some words (CVC and basic sight words).
  • Writes, Draws and Dictates about a variety of topics, including his opinion, a description of something or a moment or event in his life.
  • Use a variety of strategies to decode and comprehend text
  • Use picture clues to comprehend text
  • Apply phonics skills
  • Acquire and apply new vocabulary
  • Practice writing literacy elements daily: consonants to correspond to sounds.
  • Develop oral language: answer questions; share information
  • Interpret and evaluate materials read to them

Sample Activities

  • Read and Repeat: Have your child “read” her favorite book to you, using her memory, associations and clues from the pictures.
  • Alphabet Books: Use drawings or pictures from magazines to create an alphabet book which has a letter and an object that begins with that letter on each page.
  • Fill in the Blank: When you read a favorite picture book to your child and you come across a short word that rhymes or is familiar to your child because he knows the book very well, stop and let him say the word. Point to the word as he says it and spell it out.
  • Act it Out: Act out parts of or the whole story of your child’s favorite and well-known books.
  • Label Things: Create labels with your child for different objects in your house. For example, different books, places for toys, foods or objects in the kitchen, or clothes. You or your child can write the names of the objects and your child can draw a picture to go along with it.
  • Guessing Games: Draw a picture and have your child guess the spelling of that word. Give your child a few letters in a word. For example, show your child “_AT,” and ask him to make as many words as he can with it.
  • Create a Photo Album: When you take pictures of events or people ask your child to label the picture. Glue the picture to a piece of a paper so your child can write a description of the event, what happened, who was there, etc. If other people were involved in the event send them a copy!
  • Have a Letter Treasure Hunt: When you are in the car, at home or in the store, ask your child to find certain uppercase and lower case letters. She can keep a list of all the letters she finds and she can write them down as she finds them. 


  • Understands that numbers represent quantity and uses them to do so.
  • Counts and writes numbers, from 1-20 (and potentially higher).
  • Counts out and compare quantities, usually up to 20.
  • Counts out and groups objects in order to solve single-digit addition and subtraction problems.   
  • Begins to recognize and understand the meaning of the plus and minus signs.
  • Uses drawings, objects, actions and sounds to represent and practice addition and subtraction.
  • Practices beginning measurement and graphing skills, often through the creation of class-wide graphs, such as graphing favorite snacks, or how kids get to school.
  • Learns about and begin to count to 100, specifically through a tallying of the days of school and a celebration on the 100th day of school. (Many but not all kindergarten classes do something like this).
  • Creates patterns.       
    • Model, count, read, write, and compare cardinal numbers to 100.
    • Estimate quantities
    • Create and model simple addition (sums to 10) and subtraction stories using concrete objects and drawings.
    • Model and demonstrate an understanding of the concept of whole and half
    • Matching quantities to numbers
    • Reproduce, describe, extend, and create patterns.
    • Count by 5’s and 10’s to at least 50.
    • Sort and classify objects by color, shape, and size; identify attributes.
    • Identify positions of objects in space (e.g. next to – above – below – on top)
    • Name, describe, sort, & draw squares, circles, triangles & rectangles; describe attributes.
    • Name and compare 3-dimensional shapes.
    • Use non-standard units and appropriate language to recognize, measure, and compare length, weight, area, and capacity.
    • Demonstrate a beginning understanding of the concept of time (e.g. duration)
    • Identify coins (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarter)
    • Collect and organize data in lists, simple graphs, and tally charts.
    • Demonstrate a beginning understanding of the concept of chance (e.g. heads/tails, spinner parts)

Sample Activities

  • Cook with Patterns: Patterns can be used in lots of cooking. Make patterns with cereal necklaces, decorate cookies, make layered sandwiches with bread or crackers or make simple patterns using your child’s favorite colored candies.
  • Tell Math Stories: Use objects or even yourselves to practice addition and subtraction. If you have a bowl of 5 apples, ask your child to help figure out how many you will have left if you take away 3.
  • Build Things: Use blocks, Legos or any other building toys to construct houses, towers, vehicles etc. As your child builds, ask him to count pieces, create patterns, and talk about the shapes.
  • Take a Poll: Ask family members a question and create a graph of the answers using numbers and pictures.
  • Find the Sizes in Nature: Go outside and collect things in nature such as leaves, stones and pinecones. After you’ve collected things, count how many things you found and then talk about their sizes, which are larger, smaller and the largest and smallest. You can even add together objects that are the same (for example, all of the leaves). 


  • Makes observations and records what is seen and learned using graphs, pictures and words..
    • Know that the sun supplies heat and light to the earth.
    • Observe, describe, and compare objects in the daytime and nighttime skies; describe full, half, and crescent moons.
    • Identify the seasons of the year and day/night as repeating patterns.
    • Classify things as living or nonliving.
    • Identify what plants and animals need to survive; identify animals in their natural habitats and determine how basic needs are met.
    • Understand that plants and animals go through predictable life cycles; describe changes in appearance over time.
    • Sort and classify objects using the senses; compare color, size, shape, weight, texture, temperature, material, and flexibility of objects.
    • Compare properties of different amounts of the same kind of matter; conclude that amount does not change properties.
    • Describe ways objects move (e.g. straight line, zigzag, back-forth, fast, slow).
    • Identify and describe the safe and proper use of tools and materials; describe how animals use parts of their bodies as tools.

Sample Activities

  • Observe Nature: Pick something in nature — plants, the moon a rain storm, etc. — and observe it with your child for a few days or even weeks. Ask your child to draw pictures of what she notices, patterns and differences between things. You can write things down as well. Do this repeatedly and keep a science journal of different objects.
  • Inspect Your Food: Cut open different fruits and vegetables and see what you find inside! Talk about the seeds, the difference between fruits and vegetables and other things you notice. Try planting some of the seeds!
  • Make Science Collages: Use pictures from magazines, newspapers or online (with supervision) to create collages of different categories of science objects, such as animals, plants birds and fish.
  • Learn About a Favorite Animal: Pick an animal your child loves and learn about it. Read about it, see it at a zoo or farm or look at pictures online. Then help your child create a collage of she what she learned about that animal using pictures and texts. 

Social Studies

  • Works in groups, sharing and taking turns.
  • Develops conflict resolution skills.
  • Develops communication and conversation skills.
  • Learns about his community, outside of his home.
  • Learns about the calendar.
  • Learns about national holidays.
  • Discuss, identify and use vocabulary related to time and order
  • Discuss and apply vocabulary related to location and direction
  • Discuss and identify the general meaning of some national symbols
  • Discuss the connection between work and money

Sample Activities

  • Study Your Community: Walk around your local neighborhood and take pictures of, draw pictures of and help your child write about what she notices. Encourage your child to talk to different people in the community and ask them questions. Then make a poster or short book about your town. Your child can then send this info to a friend or family member who lives somewhere else.
  • Take a trip: Compare your own town and community to ones around you. If you live in a city, visit a more rural or suburban area. If you live in a rural area or suburb, visit a city. Talk about the differences and similarities or make a chart of them.
  • Act it Out: Use role play to help your child work on his conflict resolution skills. Act out small situations of conflict such as: what happens if someone is playing with a toy you want or what happens if you don’t agree with someone about something. Help your child figure out specific strategies he can use in different situations.
  • Make a Group Plan: Work with other family members or friends on a specific task such as cleaning up a yard or room, or cooking or setting up a meal or party. Assign everyone specific roles and figure out how to work together in the best way possible.