I have spent many years working on helping children be prepared for kindergarten. I have always thought that it was imperative that parents know what truly is important as their child moves into the foundation year of school. When I began teaching kindergarten approximately 25 years ago, many of the children in my class had never attended a preschool. I remember that I preferred that a child not even know how to write her name to having her arrive at school writing it incorrectly (all in capitals). I could teach a child to write her name correctly, but it was twice as difficult to un-teach a child with a learned bad habit. We know that there are critical preschool skills that are important for kindergarten success (being able to identify alphabet letters) and there are skills that are actually not so critical prior to beginning kindergarten (knowing letter sounds). I’m pleased that we completed an I’m Ready for Kindergarten backpack this year. It contains parent-friendly activities that zero in on skills that will be critical for kindergarten success. It is my hope that it will assist parents and preschool workers in preparing our young ones for what I consider their most important beginning. I have two grandchildren who started kindergarten this year. They have had lots of support along the way and I feel confident they are ready for this big step. I wish I could help every kindergartner be that prepared.
Manager of Educational Programs, Excelligence Learning Corporation
University Clinical Instructor
Credentials and Accolades:
M.Ed., Early Childhood Education
1996 Utah Teacher of the Year
1998-1999 President, Utah AEYC
2011 Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Utah
John Funk has worked in early childhood since 1979. He taught preschool, 1st and 2nd grades and kindergarten. He worked as an early childhood specialist for a large school district and managed early childhood services for Salt Lake CAP Head Start. He is past president of the Utah AEYC. As an early childhood, reading, and literacy consultant for the last decade, he has written on early childhood subjects and products for McGraw Hill and Leap Frog. He served on the editorial panel for Young Children magazine published by NAEYC.
Currently, John is the Manager of Educational Programs for Excelligence Learning Corporation, and he teaches courses in early childhood, children’s literature, classroom management, reading methods and supervises student teachers at the University of Utah.