The Good and the Beautiful Kindergarten Prep Course Book bridges between their preschool and kindergarten programs with 30 lessons. The course assumes that children have already been introduced to letters and their sounds, but they need not have mastered them.
The lessons might each take a day or more to complete, but this is definitely a program that will take a few months rather than a year to complete. Some children might be able to skip this course, but The Good and the Beautiful’s kindergarten course advances so quickly that it will probably be best to provide children with a more solid foundation by using this kindergarten prep course.
The course is presented in a single book that can be used in an open-and-go fashion for the most part. The child will write on many pages of the book.
The course requires parents to work directly with their child, reading instructions that are in a blue font to themselves and reading aloud to their child the instructions that are printed in a black font. You will sometimes be directed to the free Good and Beautiful app for alphabet-letter videos with lovely songs. Each video’s song teaches one, two, or three letters. Lessons sometimes direct you to additional free videos for either the parent or the child. For instance, Lesson 14 tells the parent to have their child watch the video “How Letters Make Sounds.” This same lesson also suggests that parents watch a video titled “How to Teach Blending” after the lesson is completed. The other songs and videos used with the course are available on the app or on The Good and the Beautiful Kids YouTube® channel.
No advance prep is needed other than punching out items from the 15 pages in the appendix that will be used as flashcards and for games. You shouldn’t need to buy anything else, but you will also want to have on hand a whiteboard, dry-erase markers, crayons, glue, scissors, a pencil, buttons, pennies, a key, a brad fastener, a butter knife or plastic knife, a cotton swab, and a small glob of paint.
The beautifully illustrated book is available as either a printed book or a PDF. The printed book has a metal comb binding that allows it to lie flat, making it easy for children to write in it. The PDF version costs just a little bit less, but the cost of printing it in full color and also printing the appendix pages on cardstock will likely be higher than the cost of the printed book. It’s also more bother to cut out the items on the cardstock pages, and you are unlikely to end up with a deck of flashcards all exactly the same size without using those from the punch-out pages in the printed book.
This course reinforces familiarity with letters and their sounds which should have been taught previously. It also teaches blending along with reading two-letter words and syllables and three-letter words (consonant-vowel-consonant). Students also begin to identify beginning, ending, and middle sounds, and they will learn to write both uppercase and lowercase letters and their own names. In addition to these reading and writing skills, the course teaches numbers to 15, poetry and rhyming words, proper pencil grip, colors, and art appreciation through picture studies (studying and discussing images of paintings). At the end of the course, Lessons 29 and 30 comprise a two-part assessment that will help you evaluate whether your child is ready to move on to the kindergarten program.
Children should be attracted to the castle theme that runs throughout the book. For instance, they have to read the sounds of letters on each “password paper” to get the guard to lower the drawbridge and allow them to continue into the castle as part of the lessons.
The lessons use multisensory activities. For instance, children might respond orally, sing along with the alphabet-letter songs, circle items on pages, write letters or numbers, dance while listening to the alphabet song, play games, solve maze puzzles, color in pictures, and study images of paintings.
The course has only one mention of God, a comment on the beautiful world that God created.
The Good and the Beautiful Kindergarten Prep Course Book seems most appropriate for students who are at least the age for kindergarten since it requires more fine-motor skills than most preschoolers have acquired and it teaches some skills that used to be taught in first grade. It works well as a transition between The Good and the Beautiful preschool and kindergarten programs, but even students who have completed a preK or kindergarten program from another publisher might find it helpful.