Preparing for Kindergarten
Families often say, “we’ve been practicing letters and addition what else should I teach my child before kindergarten?”
Here is the real secret….I don’t need you to practice academics - that’s my job!
But, here is my magic list of skills you can work on with your child:
- Taking Care of Self and Clothes
Is your child self-sufficient in the bathroom (wiping independently, buttoning pants back up etc.)
Teach your child how to put on a jacket and zip it up and even what to do if the sleeves are inside out! Don’t forget about getting on winter winter gear: snow pants, jacket, boots, mittens and a hat! Practice independently blowing and wiping nose when needed.
- Responsible for Own Things
When you go somewhere with your child, do you always pack everything up, and then carry it yourself? It might be helpful to start passing off some of those duties to your child. Each student will pack up his or her backpack at the end of the day, and carry their own things. What about cleaning up from activities and snack - practice getting picked up from an activity at home or even helping with activity set up!
- Lunchtime: Opening Containers!
Can your child open everything when it’s time to eat? For example, can he/she open zip lock bags and reseal them? How about Tupperware containers? Can your child open the straw for a juice box and put it in?
- Rest Time/Quiet Time
We do have a rest time for the first half of the year in our classroom. If your child is not used to quietly resting it might be a good idea to start establishing a 15 minute quiet time at home before school starts. Students will have a designated spot in the classroom where they will rest for 15 minutes (they don’t need to fall asleep, but they will need to stay on their mat quietly without toys/manipulatives) It’s a great way to allow the brain to calm down and recharge.
- Talk About It – But Not Too Much
Pumping up your kids about how exciting kindergarten will be is normal. However, sometimes these talks can create more anxiety and nerves. It’s a good idea to talk about what’s to come so your child is prepared, but try to read your child’s reactions and not talk about it too much.
- Label EVERYTHING!
This is more for parents than for the child. Things will definitely get lost, so LABEL everything then maybe it will work it’s way back to you!!
- Create Traditions for The First Day of School
Now the fun stuff! Yes, starting school can be very stressful for a new kindergartener (and the parents), but it’s also very exciting. It’s a whole new adventure, and you want to treat it as such. A child’s school is a central part of their life for the next 13+ years of life, so you definitely want to shed the most positive light on it that you can. Try to make it a fun and happy time, and encourage your child to make the most of each year. Come up with special first day of school traditions for your family - ice cream for dinner anyone?!?!
- Take Pictures and Enjoy the Moment
Finally, don’t forget to take pictures on the first day of school. It can be a hectic morning, but you will be so glad you will have those photos down the road to help remember those first days of school every year. Soak up the special moments.
Lastly, please remember - I will ALWAYS be there to help your child with the above skills if they need assistance. Each child develops at their own pace; and I embrace that. I encourage working on these skills because if your child begins to build their independence they will feel more confident here in Kindergarten.