Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Help Your Little One Get Ready For Kindergarten

Is your little munchkin ready for Kindergarten?  Have you done all you can to give them a head-start?  As a teacher and as a mother of a little one about to start Kindergarten, I know a few tricks to help your little one's transition into elementary school an easier one.  If you are anything like me, your main concern may be whether or not your kindergartener will miss you and be scared.  They are being thrown into a new environment, with new rules, new friends, and a new authority figure (AKA, the scary teacher).  You can help ease these fears by taking advantage of your school's kindergarten orientation.  Start by taking them on a tour of their new school.  Show them all the places they will visit, including the library, the cafeteria, the gym, and especially the office.   Bring them to their new classroom, introduce them to their new teachers and give them the opportunity to explore their room so that they can feel more comfortable.   If your school offers a chance to ride the school bus, don't skip it.  This may be scary for both parents and child alike.  It will extremely helpful to take this test run to ease any anxieties.    

Another concern that I have for children starting Kindergarten, is their lack of knowledge when is comes to school rules.  Of course their teachers will explain it all to them over the first few weeks of school, but if we give them advance knowledge of what will be expected of them, it will make the transition that much easier.  Children that have gone to preschool will have an easier time adjusting, but would still benefit from knowing what to expect.   You would be surprised at how many five year old kids are unaware that they have to stay on the task they are given and not go do something else when they get bored.  Teach your kids about listening to the teacher, raising their hands, walking in line.  Sounds obvious to us, but to those who have never been in school before, it is brand new territory.  While you may think that teachers will be looking for your child to know their ABC's and 123s, they are secretly crossing their fingers that their new class is full of independent students that know how to listen, follow directions, and stay on task.   With these three important skills, the teacher will be able to make better use of their classroom time.   If they have to spend a few months, trying to teach their class to listen, they lose out on time they could be teaching your kids to read and do math.

Over the school year, let your child see your enthusiasm for learning.  Read with them daily and encourage them to ask and answer questions about the book.  With your help, your kindergartener will have a successful year and develop a love for school.   

What other ways have you helped your children prepare for school?  Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

1 comment:

blueviolet said...

I couldn't agree with you more about how important it is to take them to the school and get familiar with the location and where things are.

It used to be that kindergarten was a place where they could learn how to listen, sit still, etc. but these days they really do need to have those skills in place to a degree when they get there!