6 tips for kindergarten readiness
6 tips for kindergarten readiness
September is a time for new beginnings, and for some young people, that means taking that first big step into the kindergarten classroom. What skills should children have before they make the important transition from preschool to grade school?
Five-year-olds come from a large variety of backgrounds. Some have attended daycare or preschool for several years and already know how to use finger paint, scissors, crayons, and how to walk quietly in line. Some come from enriched home environments where adults have taught them how to read, write, and tie their shoes. A small group of children come to kindergarten with little preparation at all, never having held a pair of scissors or a crayon in their lives. A few might not even know their last name.
Here are some tips you can use to help your youngster prepare for kindergarten before she even sets foot in the school.
Provide a large variety of experiences
Babies begin learning about the world through sensory input from the moment they are born. Sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and smells help children form connections in the brain that serve as the foundation for all new learning. Provide your child with a large variety of experiences: go to the park, visit the zoo, explore museums, go on nature walks. Talk about what you see, and encourage your child to ask questions.
Encourage your child to dress himself, use the bathroom independently, get his own snack, and take his coat on and off. Practice tying shoes, zipping coats, and opening containers at home so he can handle these types of skills independently when he goes to school. Mastering these skills also teaches your child autonomy and builds self-esteem.
Practice early academic skills at home
There are a number of tasks you can encourage your child to do to develop kindergarten readiness. Have her spend time coloring, writing her name, and identifying colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. Give her a pair of child-safe scissors so she can practice gripping them at home. It's really important that these skills are not completely foreign to her when she enters school. With some baseline experiences at home, she'll feel competent and self-assured in the classroom.
Facilitate social experiences
School is a highly social experience, and children who have not been previously exposed to this can be at a disadvantage. Set up scenarios for your child to practice social skills. If he does not go to daycare or preschool, try to set up play groups or even just some playdates with another child. Talk about sharing, playing together, waiting for one's turn, and simply getting along. Play games that require turn-taking, and work together to set the dinner table. Children are expected to collaborate in groups at a very young age at school. A bit of social experience before that first day of kindergarten will help him feel like he's not out of his element.
Talk, talk, and talk some more
A child develops her vocabulary by listening to her parents speak. As such, you should talk, sing, and read to your child as much as possible. Use spatial words such as over, under, up, down, around, top, bottom, left and right, as these words are important for body awareness and also for learning to write letters and numbers. Encourage your child to talk about her day by asking questions. What was the best part of your day? What was the funniest part of your day? What are you looking forward to about tomorrow? Create stories together, and help your child understand the concepts of beginning, middle, and end in storytelling.
Think about safety
Visit the school in advance of that first day in order mitigate separation anxiety and help your new student know what to expect. Show him where his classroom is. Explain what to do if he gets lost and how to ask an adult for help. Practice any routines that might feel foreign, such as walking to school, packing a backpack, or using a locker.
There are a few key facts that your youngster should have memorized before school: his first and last name and how to spell it, his address, and your phone number. You can help him memorize these facts by putting them to music or using lots of repetition.
Starting kindergarten is a big transition, but with a little bit of planning, you can set your child up for success and instill a sense of security at school and a love of learning from day one.
Aimee E. Ketchum is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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