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Kindergarten Readiness Kit Review by Tess Hamre

Caroline Moulsdale
ABC Crate, LLC
215 Wills Farm Road
Lincoln University, Pa. 19352

Through her company, ABC Crate, Caroline Moulsdale, a Montessori teacher and parent education director, offers homeschooling parents hand-made inclusive kits. Each kit or crate includes a storybook, lessons, materials, and follow-up worksheets.

I received the Kindergarten Readiness Kit, which is a combination of two crates. It includes both the Language Arts Beginning Sounds materials and Math Activities for numerals 0-20. In addition to the included materials for both Math and Language Arts, ABC Crate offers three options for the two included storybooks.

The book options are:
Option 1 – The Crayons' Book of Numbers by Dre Daywalt and Dr. Suess's ABC
Option 2 – Stickers Early Learning Numbers and Sticker Activity ABC, both by Priddy Books.
Option 3 – Eating the Alphabet Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert and Even Steven, Odd Todd by Kathryn Cristaid

I found the storybooks, a small box, and a standard two-pocket folder when I opened the package. The box contained all the manipulatives, while a folder holds all the "papers." 

I love that Caroline organizes all the manipulatives! Inside the box, I found seven drawstring fabric bags, two small transparent plastic bags, a wooden stick (counter), and a dry-erase marker.

The blue two-pocket folder contained all the Lesson plans and worksheets for Beginning Sounds in one pocket, while the Lesson Plans, Activity Sheets, and a Laminated Tracing Sheet were in the other. I appreciated having the materials already sorted for me! I also found a pencil with the ABC Crate logo tucked inside the folder. 

Beginning Sounds

The content list for the Beginning Sounds includes twenty-six burned letter wooden disks, twenty-six objects to represent sounds, a dry-erase marker, an illustrated lesson plan with suggested activities, and follow-up worksheets.

The twenty-six disks and objects are divided into six groups. Each group is in a drawstring bag. Each bag is labeled with the group letters. For example, the n, p, f, o bag holds those wooden letters and a plastic nickel, pineapple, fish, and octopus. The b, i, r, c bag has letters, an eraser-shaped book, a rubber ice cream cone, a plastic rocking horse, and a rubber cupcake. 

Only one lesson is listed for Beginning Sounds; however, the lesson has eleven steps and should be followed for each letter group. Steps 2-9 introduce each letter and should be repeated for each letter group.

Mrs. Moulsdale states that the "child/student should work with [each bag] until they are comfortable doing the activity independently." She also says, "Don't be surprised if one bag takes a month or longer."

Once a parent has introduced the letter group and worked through step 9, the parent can place the bag in the child's work area for the student to work independently. Once the student knows most of the sounds in the bags, the parent can mix sounds and objects from different bags to further challenge the child.

Numbers 1-2 KIT

The included materials for the Math Activities are

Two sets of short bead bars (numbers 1-9) and twelve 10 bars - stored in a transparent plastic "zippered" bag
Hand-made burned wooden numerals from 0-20 - stored in a fabric drawstring bag like the letters and objects for the Beginning Sounds kit
Two addition signs and One equals sign - stored in a small clear "zippered" bag
A counter (wooden pointer shaped like a pencil) 
Lesson plan with activities
Follow-up worksheets

The Math Activities section includes four lessons. As with the Beginning Sounds, each lesson is not "one day." Instead, each lesson has a focus. Lesson One: Short Bead Bars and Concept of Zero focuses on linear counting from 1-10, matching numerals and quantities, and introduces the concept of Zero. This lesson can be repeated as often as needed. Follow-up activity sheets include Color and Trace 0-10, 0-10 trace, and trace and write 0-10. The lesson recommends placing one option at a time in the student's workspace. Mrs. Moulsdale also suggests playing "I Spy" using the bead bars "to get used to which bars are which."

The second lesson focuses on linear counting and adding numbers 0-10 to make 11-20, matching numerals and quantities, and introduction to numerals 11-20. The follow-up activity sheets include adding bars to make 11-20, color and trace, and practicing 11-20, trace, write, and color.

The third lesson focuses on linear counting and adding random number combinations to practice adding quantities 2-20, and the fourth lesson focuses on learning the concept of odd and even using pairing.

Age Recommendations

ABC Crate recommends the Kindergarten Readiness Kit for ages 3-7. This may seem like a broad range; however, the activities can be adapted depending on the child's age, skill level, and interest. Younger children may need more time moving through each lesson before starting the next, and older children may not require as much practice time before moving to the next lesson.

In addition, parents can choose the book options that best match the student's level. Book option one is a fantastic choice for younger students. Dr. Suess's ABC is a classic preschool introduction to the alphabet for young children. When paired with The Crayons' Book of Numbers by Dre Daywalt, parents have the perfect combination for children just beginning to explore letters and numbers.

Book option three is perfect for children in the upper end of the recommended age range. Eating the Alphabet Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is a fantastic resource for teaching beginning sounds and introducing upper and lowercase letters. I adored Even Steven, Odd Todd by Kathryn Cristaid as an introduction to help my daughter grasp the concept of even and odd.

For parents who prefer a hands-on Montessori approach to learning, the Kindergarten Readiness Kit from ABC Crate is the perfect choice for teaching beginning reading and math skills.

~Product review by Tess Hamre, Single Product Reviews Manager, The Old Schoolhouse®, September 2023